I made a trip to a nearby town to take care of some personal businesses (banking, shopping, etc). We get up to 4 personal businesses days a month. The first two days don’t have to be approved but the last two days have to be approved by the Peace Corps….so basically we may not always get our 3rd and 4th days. The reason for this is the Peace Corps want us to be with our community as much as possible.
It is a bit challenging because that means I have to really plan ahead (I’m one of those people who have been known to make 3 trips to Wal-Mart in a day because I either forget to make a list or I forget to bring the list with me). There aren’t a lot of options at the village market either so again I have to really plan ahead.
It’s also challenging because I’m only cooking for myself and I can’t keep leftovers since I don’t have a refrigerator and food don’t last very long here with insects and the heat.
I also have to make sure I have enough kerosene for my stove. I also have to make sure I can carry everything from the grocery store to the bus stage to my house by myself!
So, yeah…there’s a lot of little things I have to take into consideration…things that most of us don’t think about.
I did some planning yesterday and I think I’m good to go for a couple of weeks! I can pick up a few things at the village market when I need them. I have already found out that the village market doesn’t have oranges, apples, or carrots. It’s also hit-and-miss in terms of eggs, potatoes, bananas, and tomatoes. They usually have these items but sometimes it takes more than one day/one attempt to get them.
Anyways, today I decided to make the trip to town all by myself. This town is about 17 km (10 miles) from my village but can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to get there. It depends on how long it takes to get a ride and how many stops there are. The roads are rocky, not paved, and have a lot of potholes so we usually don’t go any faster than 30-40 kmph (20-25 mph).
I walked down to the main dirt road…waited…and hoped that I would get a ride! I ended up waiting 2 hours until I was able to flag down a matatu. During those 2 hours I ended up counting piki pikis (motorcycles–if we ride one, we get kicked out of the Peace Corps)….I counted 68. I took in the scenery. I also met what felt like half of the village. I got so many hellos and handshakes from people passing by.
Once I got to town I went to the bank and the grocery store. I then dragged 2 heavy bags with me to the market and tried my hand at some bargaining for some fruits and veggies. Then I decided to grab lunch at a restaurant. Afterwards, I tried to get some more kerosene. The first two gas stations were out of kerosene but an older man on a bike who I met at the second gas station led me to another gas station that had some kerosene.
Whew….cooking is kind of important! 🙂
I headed back to the matatu station after finishing up my errands and found a ride back to my village.
I felt so independent today….it was a great feeling!