I wish you were here. I wish everyone could see this place. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen or been to or anything. I can’t describe it to you. I wish I could – the sunrise and sunsets are amazing! The trees and flowers and animals – it’s like living in a zoo. I see something new and wondrous every day. Literally every day.
The people are amazing – we spend a lot of time with the local villagers and they are generous and kind, but suspicious. They don’t trust outsiders easily and we spend a great deal of our time with them trying to ingratiate ourselves into their world. They appreciate what we are trying to do, the good we are trying to bring, but old habits die hard.
Speaking of old habits, I am clean. You can tell Brit and Joe for me, please. I know they don’t understand or care or they feel betrayed or whatever. I had to get away – I hope you understand. I got clean and I needed help. I am clean and I am trying to help.
It’s difficult here to get mail of the phone or modern things. No running water or toilets, you use a hole in the ground. The locals are very casual about that stuff, which leads to sickness and all kinds of stuff. I live in a tent with a cot and lots of mosquito netting. I wash once a week in the local river, which is incredibly filthy. We eat twice a day and try not to make a big deal of anything. We are going native, which makes some of the other aid workers laugh.
A few hours later…
We had a hell of a rain storm roll through. The rainy season will start soon and they say it will put an end to everything we are doing. You can’t do anything but try to stay dry. We had one person go home with a nasty foot infection – it turned purple and swelled. They think it was a bite from something (insect or animal). He was scared to lose his foot, so they drove up from the city (one hour away) and loaded him in the truck and took him away. He (Bill) was a good guy, and we miss him. It is just me and Chris and Mitch for now, no word on Bill’s replacement. Mitch is quiet and doesn’t mix much outside of work, which is tough. He goes off or just reads in his cot. Chris and I get along – she’s really dedicated and grew up in Bristol, so we have that in common (not). She takes pictures all day long.
I am at peace. This was totally worth it and I will be a better person for it. I found people worse than me (and you and everyone else) and I can make it a little bit better.
It takes forever to get mail, but don’t be afraid to write. I don’t think there is a computer in the whole country, so forget email. Phones are pretty rare and the sat phones are expensive (we have to pay to use them). A good old fashioned letter (words on paper) would be nice.
I miss you.