In Bogo, I was an hour away from Maroua the regional capital. Most volunteers were only a couple hours from there. We may have had "clusters", the administrative organization for work and security, but with all of us so close to our office/home-away-from-home we didn't really operate like that. The Extreme Northerners were just all in it together; any time you went to town you were bound to run into somebody. (I'm informed by Erin, my old post mate, that not only was Bogo a cluster in and of itself, but I was the de facto head of said cluster. Huh, who knew?)
Tibati Cluster, on the other hand, is a family. We are some seven hours from the regional capital of Ngaoundere (baring some tricky stuff involving hopping a train in another town at five in the morning). We are thus a bit isolated. Isolation breed intimacy (among other things like insanity). WE DON'T NEED NGAOUNDERE. Or other people. We have each other.
|(and also matching outfits)|
Stephanie, Caitlin, and myself are all displaced Extreme North volunteers. We all lost our original homes and were sent off into nowhere to open up new ones. Start afresh in an area that hasn't had Peace Corps for almost a decade. They couldn't of sent a better team! (This is not true; I could have totally organized a better team and it likely wouldn't have included me. But they couldn't have organized a more awesome team!) When I tell people who I'm posted near they are all like, "What? That's awesome! I wish I was near Stephanie and Caitlin!" Yea! And they probably say that about me too. Oh. No. Caitlin says that when she tells people she's near me they say things like, "Well, THAT guy is crazy." Yea, but the good kind.
I call them both Nuna which means "big sister" in Korea. How I got posted near two Asian-Americans of Korean descent is one of life's mysteries. I'm clearly the little brother of the family in spite of being physically larger and also technically older by far. The important bit is that we are most definitely a family. A properly dysfunctional one too. And right now, I'm laying in a bed at Caitlin's place as she nurses me back to health from some silly bout of malaria. Yes, Stephanie, we watched Running Man last night and, yes, I still maintain that it is some of the greatest television ever produced. My head hurt every time I laughed. Feel Touch Cross!
Sadly Stephanie left us not too long ago. She has gone on to bigger and better things in America. The land of everything. She was replaced by what is probably a perfectly good human named Liz. She's not Korean though, so I don't really know what that's about. And she naturally can't replace Stephanie. Mostly because I won't let her.
Ok, delirium seems to be setting in again. Here is another picture:
"CAITLIN, my water bottle is empty and my head hurts! Fix it."
Reunion 2020: Seoul
NOTE: In America, I promised myself I would do a better job of keeping you updated. Clearly I'm not doing that. Tis not my fault! My normal internet has gone from being shitty to being nonexistent. There is none in Mbakaou and none in Tibati. A short 8 hour drive and I have decent, less shitty internet, but, alas, I'm not prepared to make that trip so often. We, my friends, have survived worse trials and shall survive this. Have faith! Plus you can now follow me on twitter @juggledgeese; I can update that via texts from my phone. AND if you message me there or tweet at me, it goes directly to my cell here. In Africa. For free. Technology, you crazy.