Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 2007

With so much going on, and a distinct lack of post-Thanksgiving over-commercialized holiday advertising, December crept up on me. My focus at school was on writing and giving the first set of final exams which, though stressful to write up and nerve-racking to give, turned out pretty well.

Only a few days in, my postmate Heidi left for her long vacation in the states (her first time back since leaving the summer of 2006). Although I missed her, I took it as a good time for me to have a quiet few weeks to get myself together. As the nights and mornings cooled and the Harmatan winds picked up… so did my spirits and my energy. I started talking with colleagues about potential projects in the Spring. I organized the house and ventured further out into the village. I hung up my hammock, ordered a rocking chair, and handled my first dead mouse (it was an accident!). It was a welcomed, boring few weeks. As the holiday approached, news from home was my only reminder of nostalgia. Luckily, the week before Christmas my friend Megan and I fell upon the idea of making everyone who would be together in Natitingou stockings from colorful African tissue. Little did we know what we got ourselves into! Sewing each stocking by hand… names across the top and everything… we must have put in 50 hours each but it was so worth it to drop that little bit of Christmas spirit around… we even made two with jewish stars for our non-christian buddies!

Packing up and leaving Badjoude this time was much more organized than the haphazard departure to Parakou. I arrived in Natitingou and had an incredible visit. We made a side-trip to Boukoumbe, a mountain village where we hiked 3 hours into the hills to spend the night in a Tata Samba (mud hut castle). We also swam in waterfalls, made potato pancakes with real applesauce Christmas morning, visited an orphanage Christmas day, ate pizza and REAL CHEESE (baked brie is a luxury no matter where you are… but pure heaven in Africa), planned for next year’s national spelling bee, and watched Grey’s Anatomy. The only down-side was several people’s illnesses, including my own: first Christmas in Africa followed closely by my first cold... how appropriate!

Now I am heading back to Badjoude to celebrate the New Year au village. Since this is the biggest holiday in Benin I am looking forward to lots of eating and festivities… I cannot believe it is already 2008!

17 comments:

loehrke said...

I am SO glad you all got together in Nati for Christmas. I know it helped Carly a lot and it helped us PARENTS a lot by knowing that you were all together and enjoying the day.
Keep hanging on to each other and maintaining those friendships......I know it's one of THE most important things to keep you going through this amazing adventure. (FYI: I am SO glad that you "broke the rules" to say goodbye to Erin......it was important for ALL of you!!).
All the best, Mark Loehrke (Carly's dad)

mom said...

Kate, it was great to finally talk to you this New Year's Eve. It sounded like a Christmas adventure that you will remember forever. I'm so glad you have ended up in this amazing place with good close contacts. Your blog filled in all the interesting details about what has been happening the last two months. Next time it would be nice to have you talk more about school and what happens there. My kids are so excited to think they might have African penpals. You are my sunshine girl and I love you so much.

mom said...

Dad said:
I loved our conversation on 12/31/07! It warms me to hear of your adventures and most of all, the quality friends you have made. Your vivid and colorful descriptions, combined with the waterfall picture, reaffirms to me what a beautiful person you are-inside and out. Your ability to convey your thoughts in such a readable manner makes your blogs an exciting, vicarious journey for all of us. I count the days until we see our "beacon of light" in June. Until then "milk" the experiences you are having for all they are worth. I love you. Dad

dinda said...

katie poo,

i see you! i always enjoy catching up on your blog entries. It's been a few weeks since I last checked in, but I'm so happy that I did! I loved hearing about your Christmas and the Thanksgiving you spent with your Em. <3
I miss you! I think of you often....

-leeeenda

OLED said...

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oldielocks said...

R.I.P. You are with God now and your life on earth was a nobel one!

oldielocks said...

R.I.P.

oldielocks said...

R.I.P.

oldielocks said...

R.I.P.

oldielocks said...

R.I.P.

oldielocks said...

R.I.P.

sandy said...

What a wonderful legacy you have left to the people who love and adore you. In our quest to make life more tolerable and meaningfull, one might have dreams of joining an organization and actually making a difference. You did that, placing all fears aside and following the dream of unselfishness and opening your heart to so many. As a mother, I know your parents will forever mourne the loss of such an obvious bright light to them. I hope they can have some comfort in knowing that you surely lived a full life and always embraced the knowing that you had the wonderful love of a family backing your dreams every step of the way. Rest in Peace and may your dreams and aspirations live on through your many works.

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