Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Beginning of service when I showered everyday
I'm warning you, this post is gross

Because I'm nasty.

People I am straight up disgusting.

I haven't showered in a few days because of a burst pipe on my compound, so when the water is coming out of the faucet it isn't doing so very quickly, and I am usually too busy trying to fill everything up for the few minutes it is on.

I got heat rash, like stupid, insanely itchy, horrible to look at, kind of heat rash. On the backs of my hands, on the backs of my calves, and on my ankles and feet. It looks like I tried to make knee high "Pretty Woman" boots out of poison sumac and then walked around in them for a day or two.

My feet are sweating like a Turkey on Thanksgiving. This combined with the fact that I am in the land of sand, tends to create a weird sludge like substance in my keens at the end of the day due to sand and sweat mixing inside of them...which is just flippin lovely.

All of my clothing is faded.

My hair is greasy.

I haven't been paid in 6 weeks.

And I'm running out of cheese.


Its summer, and it was overcast today! The wind in the air reeks of possibility! I'm not only dripping with sweat, but with new energy to put towards finishing up the last of my projects! I'm positively stinking with the want to try and clock myself back in after a lot of time away from my village.

I was finally able to take a shower yesterday and even though I don't have money for hair products until we get paid, I have vinegar, baking soda and a little bit of left over conditioner, so I'm feeling a lot better. The amount of emotional happiness I get from washing my hair these days is impressive, which got me to thinking about a conversation I had with my friend Kate. We were talking about how Peace Corps has changed us, and I mentioned that I tended to be a little bit more feminine back in the states, whereas she had found the exact opposite to be true.

Now, I would never be what anyone would have called "girly" in the states, at most I would have been a "pracical femme" and maybe I am over romanticizing my ability to dress up, but I always had THE CHOICE to put on a skirt or a dress and makeup. I loved wearing boots, and though shopping makes me want to tear my hair out (with double wide, size 11 feet, who can blame me?) I didn't mind having a little specific retail therapy now and again.

literally this skirt
Now a days as I pull on my worn out much loved hiking boots, and slip into that faded ankle length "peace corps" skirt for the millionth time, as I wrap my stringy locks in a head band, hair tie, head scarf or bandanna, I find myself craving a level of flippant femininity that I never really reached for in the states. I want the cage heels, I want to know how to curl my hair in that blown out beach bum kinda way, to put on lipstick without looking like a 5 year old girl just broke into her mother's makeup case for the first time.

So suddenly, even though I am wearing a lot of skirts and dresses here, I feel like I'm not being feminine enough. I feel like if I am going to do it, I want to do it right. I want to be clean, I want to look good, and I want to go out so that other people can see my clean looking, goodness! My baby (20yr old) sister is really good at this, even when she is granola-ing it up with her outdoor peeps she has her own sense of style, so is my cousin Emily and my Mother, my Aunts and my Grandmother. All-in-all we are a pretty good looking bunch of women, and I have always felt like the knowledge of all the feminine wiles stuff wasn't something that was needed for me. My mother gave me a Sefora gift certificate when I turned 20 and said something along the lines of "its time", and I'm pretty sure, here at 24, that I still have most of the make up I used that card on.

My friend Daniella is also amazing at this and every time I travel up to her flat in Maun I find myself, for the first time in my life, flipping through her Marie Claire magazines, and perusing her closet and makeup stand, and wishing I had these things and that I looked this way. I have never seen Daniella look less than flawless but I think that is something that has come with years of practice so I am not reaching for that right at this moment.
This is what she looked like
AFTER cooking for everyone in our group
Its not so much that I want to steal how these women dress, nor do I think I am going to go back to the states and suddenly become this made-up, tight skirt wearing, woman overnight. I tend to be a little dirtier than that, I tend to be a bit more practical. What I want is to feel good about how I look and what I am wearing; be it stilettos and an LBD, or jeans and some flannel (*cough*Zoe*cough*.) I think that is something that I have missed while being here in Bots, I don't feel like I look good, even if I am having a more put together day.

So here it is, I have decided when I get home that some of my readjustment money will be going towards certain items I believe to be lacking in my life, because I want to be more femme.

- Makeup, but firstly a lesson on how to use it and what makes me look good. I'm never going to be an overly made up individual but knowing how to apply it and what to apply when I am in the mood seems like a good plan.

- Hair stuff, not that I need much because I am a redhead and we are just naturally fabulous. ;)

- How to do my hair. I can straighten it but it would be nice to have a few "styles" in my back pocket. Its like cooking, everyone should know a few special things to whip out for that special someone.

- Heels. I actually got a pair of these at home that are waiting for me, but I want more.

- A sense of style that I like instead of just tolerate. I was going to put "clothing" on here, but ultimately it is more than that. I don't need more clothes I need more style and the right kind of clothes.

Like I said before, I think the first step in all this is getting clean...good thing it rained this morning ;)

Covered in dust after a salt pans trip

Hugs and smooches,

P.s. I thought this was a pretty awesome post: Don't Date A Girl Who Travels

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claire, I am a RPCV from Serowe 1991. I was surfing the net and found your blog. I really enjoy your sense of humor. I looked at where your village is located and remember doing some work in that area as a physical therapist. I have a thought, let me know what you think. I have a photo of a incredible woman. It might be fun if I sent it to you and you tried to track her down. I would love to send her a copy of the photo (or if she is no longer alive, her grandchildren who are also in the photo). What do you think? My email is I look forward to hearing from you. Carl Fernandez