Remember how a year and a half ago I wrote about resubmitting the previous volunteer’s proposal to get Peace Corps funding for a second well in the village? And how it was months before my schedule and the village’s schedule and the Ministrie de Hydraulique’s schedule—and, by that point, the weather’s schedule—aligned to produce three guys and a shovel?
Well, after six months of (every few days, for a few hours each day) digging through rock and sand to a depth of somewhere around 35 meters, water has arrived.
Water! The village gathered to pull some out so that the workers could continue doing whatever it is they’re doing down there at this point… it was a slow process of the workers showing up to sit around, then the village guys playing games, then everyone attempting to catch donkeys, then pulling water as the women gathered, then sending the chief down to inspect whatever there is to inspect at the bottom of a newly-dug well.
While I was watching the women standing in line with their buckets, I realized that this was one of those “Peace Corps moments” that lots of PCVs never get—seeing your effort (and PC money) have an actual impact. It’s something that I know my village appreciates and that I appreciate both for the instrinsic warm-fuzzies and the possibilities for future projects that it creates. We’ve started a tree nursery and supposedly work has also begun on a fence for a village garden.
However, while there’s the prospect of lots of productive work for my last six months of service, I also anticipate many more hours of the village’s current obsession: Uno. Every day after lunch, during that stupidly hot part of the day when nobody leaves the shade, a group of women, men, and kids has been joining in multi-hour sessions of Uno. The previous volunteer at my site introduced them to the game, and since there’s not much work going on at this time of year, they’ve been asking me to bring out the cards.
Games are hilarious—some people get the rules right away, some don’t, and those who do will reach over and play for those who don’t. There’s a lot of fussing and a lot of laughing, especially since I explained the rule about how if you don’t call out “I have one!” (Mi hebii gooto!), someone else can catch you and force you to draw more cards. It’s good to know you’re making a difference, right?