Glorious Camp Life
Things started to feel different on Sunday. I had a good afternoon, a super fun evening, and today's been pretty busy. Louis has a friend/ex-collegue in town for the week, and I went with him to the airport and did the "Welcome to Tamatave Tour". Or at least an abbreviated version (for now). I forgot how much I missed being Little Miss Tour Guide when new people came here.
Anyyyyyywho, since the time that I've been away, I forgot how completely shitty camp life can be. In Canada:
- I LOVE the fact that I can do own laundry and don't have to worry that it will get lost or ruined.
- I LOVE the fact that I can eat food that tastes good, not just food that's the least of the worst options (although I can never get enough cucumbers here, and the food has improved SPECTACULARLY in the last 2 years)
- I love the fact that generally, things in my house work, and when they don't, I can call someone reliable who will come and fix it, and not steal my shit. I wrote last week how my headphones were stolen (while I stood less than 10 feet away), but I got over it, because, it's my fault. I know that anything not tied down is up for grabs here.
Today both rooms have plugged toilets AND showers. And they have somehow run into each other producing a gigantic mess. I went and put in a maintenance request...but was a little weary because:
a) I don't want five guys in my room. (Remember it's still summer here so things get stainky fast)
b) I don't know what will get stolen or not stolen
I specifically went to the "Camp Boss", who then told me that he would tell me when they were coming so that I can stay there and watch them. 'Cause that worked so well the first time. He came back and said that he would personally go with them and watch them. I don't have much of anything of value...but it's just the fact of people (that have stolen a lot from me over the last 4 years) are in my place...and it's not a fun feeling.
Um...right now I have three maintenance guys and two housekeepers and no boss.
I completely forgot that nothing is ever easy and everything is always fucked in some way. I find it AMAZING that I adapted to this way of life. I remember going fighting and fighting for WEEKS to have the floor in our bedroom cleaned using a clean mop. Our floors smelled so bad, it was like a hockey locker room. Finally I told them to COMPLETELY stop cleaning our floors and I would do it. It took me a long time to scrub all of the dirt off and make things non-disgusting...and the following Monday....our floors were "cleaned" again by housekeeping, undoing my work.
HOW THE HELL DID I NOT GO CRAZY HERE? Oh, wait. I totally did.
No everything is bad here. I love a lot of the people in camp, and it's pretty cool to go to the tiki bar and run into people you like (except on a Friday where they have an incredibly brutal local band blast their songs...oh my goodness. To add to the joy, it's "Family Night", which to the families here, means, bring your kids on their bikes and let them run/ride around screeming and forget that they are there).
It's also pretty cool to spend one last week here with Louis. At first, there were a lot of weird emotions here, like bad memories and stuff, but now, we're packing up and winding everything down to go home.
Oh - another aspect of camp life that I have to mention. STRIKES. Of course there has to be a strike here while I'm visiting!!! The "word" strike still spikes my blood pressure, but for some reason, I was suppppppper calm and didn't care too much about it. On Saturday I found out it was a pretty for sure thing that there would be a driver strike (there are 300 drivers employed by a contractor that work for the project) and yesterday I found out it was a for sure thing. All employees had to be at work by 5am as to beat the strikers to work. That truly sucked for Louis because we went out with a few friends and had a thimble or two of rum and stayed up late. :P
At lunch, there was a group of maybe 20 drivers standing by the gates, I saw Louis' driver who gave me his wonderful big smile, I waived, and that was about it. It certainly impacts the project because they have to find alternate drivers to get people (including Malagasy employees) to and from work, but they seem to have things mostly in control. If this should go on for a few days....well, then things could change, but for now, it's super, super peaceful.
This email is totally bitching about everything here, which really makes me feel like my contract ending last year was a very, very good thing. Louis leaving this place now is also a very, very good thing. It also makes me so incredibly freaking grateful for everything in Canada that I'm going back to - I don't care if it's un-Spring and cold again when I get home!!! I'm going to go grocery shopping and buy spinach and blueberries and Greek yogurt and I'll watch TV if I feel like it and suft the internet on WHATEVER sites I want to go on (many are blocked here during the day or all together).
This week I'm feeling much better about being here for a short visit....but man, I'll be happy to be in my own bed in a week's time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!