The time I Impregnated a Sandwich…

I’ve made the greatest Sandwich in the world, given my ingredients. Here is the recipe for all you fellow volunteers, future volunteers, Brandon Brager, college kids on a Saturday with a hangover, and Ben Deane. It takes about 5 minutes to make:

  1. In a shallow bowl, wisk 2 eggs with 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tbsp flour, and either ¼ cup milk or 1tbsp of dried milk powder.
  2. Soak sliced French Bread (although Cinnamon Raisin would be killer here) in the French toast batter.
  3. Fry for a few minutes on a pan with butter until the sides are lightly browned
  4. Sandwich with Peanut Butter. If you are feeling crazy, add sliced bananas, powdered sugar, maple syrup, or cinnamon/sugar. Or all of them.
  5. Try not to fall in love. Its only a sandwich after all.



Finger Snapping Good

I do this thing when I get really excited. I rub my hands together, clench my jaw, pound my hands together twice and snap my fingers as if I was packing a can of tobacco.  It’s got to be one of the weirdest things about me. I have no idea where it started or where it came from. I wonder what it means about my mental makeup. But it has become second nature, almost instinctual.

I do it when the Redskins or Capitals win a close game. I probably did it when I got into JMU. Also when I found out my friend Jennings got into VCU. I did it in anticipation of my trip to Europe, knowing I was about to hang out with all my favorite people.

Lately though, I’ve been doing it a lot. In three weeks, a string of visitors are coming, and I am excited enough to look like I am having a seizure during one of my excited episodes. My brother, parents and girlfriend will all be here in less than 5 weeks.

One of the causes for my excitement prior to Europe was going to see Pat Deane, my brother from another, who lives in Rome. He was more excited I think. He told me how awesome it was to have visitors when you are in an unfamiliar place. He said he was excited to show off his city and escape the loneliness you feel as an expat. He would probably like me to add that he said it cooler than that.

I only now understand his excitement. I am relatively lonely. I have a lot of friends in town, and the townspeople genuinely like me. However often times, I have to escape the extraordinary amount of attention I receive. I recess to the more welcome confines of my room. I let out a sigh of relief. Peace and quiet. F

For the first time in my life, I am more comfortable by myself than I am in the company of others. I actually enjoy this revelation and it is contributing to what I would call personal growth, for lack of a better term. I think therefore I am or something like that.

So my room is my safe place. My loneliness is both difficult and also my sanctuary. Because outside these walls, I am walking entertainment. There is no privacy here. It is rare for me to pass someone without them attempting a conversation. I try to embrace this lifestyle and often entertain their requests.

Other times, I exchange hellos as I pass, my demeanor suggesting that I have something important to do or somewhere to be (both are highly unlikely). I tell myself I am sharing with them American culture, we are in too big of a hurry for pleasantries.

But my loneliness is almost over. It’s a good thing because I was starting to lose it. The other day, I was eating a banana in my hammock, and my favorite dog was lying next to me. I threw the peel out, which peaked Jibby’s (Translation: my hyena) interest. “Sorry, that’s just the peel. Did you want a banana?”

Not only am I talking to a dog, but I am asking it questions and waiting for a response.

But all that changes on Saturday.

Heck, there I go again. I’m the happiest kid in Bonga.



The pictures below:

1. My girlfriend Carly in a local dress I sent her in the mail. Mostly i just wanted to show her off. She’s well, smoking and I did a great job of tricking her into thinking i’m cool. What an idiot!

2. Here is Dave with my new host parents/landlords on my birthday. Dave is one of the greatest people i’ve met. I’ll tell you more about him later. Alemwua and Johanes love me and take good care of me. They try and force me to eat and drink with them for every meal. Johanes made me an awesome cake for my birthday and Alemwua brought a coffee ceremony into my house.

3. A picture of me at the Bonga Waterfall during the last day before the rains came. You can normally not see the awesome wall behind me.

4. A local girl with some cool eyes

5. A young kid posing in front of another sweet sunset

6. Alemwua and Johanes roasting the coffee in my room



Ok, maybe i’m just procastinating actually writing something. Here is a quick video from my Birthday Party. You get to see my room, where i’ve turned a mud and concrete slab into a home away from home. Also you see my compound parents, who bought me a cake and gave me a surprise coffee ceremony — complete with palm branches all over my room. Dave and my friend Gezehegn also showed up. I guess some people like you when you’re 23

A look at Bonga

Here is a quick look at Bonga that I took at the height of the dry season. The rains started last week.

This shot is looking North West from Bonga over the lowlands that extend to the valley of Mizan Teferi, Gambella National Park and ultimately Sudan. This is a look into the direction in which Sudanese refugees crossed while heading to Ethiopian refugee camps during the civil war. Bonga was home to one of the larger refugee camps.

One Mans Trash

I’ll tell you a little bit about my roommates. I live on a compound, three large buildings carved up into smaller rooms. The three buildings are in the process of a large renovation, as the mud and stick exterior is replaced with concrete. Hopefully this will cut down on the rat population. So I share my home with 12 Ethiopians, said rodents, and a host of other animals. Our cat just gave birth to 4 more kittens and I witnessed our cow give birth the other night. That was a sight to see. There are 3 dogs, and one of them is awesome. It is in the process of teething and I decided it needed a toy other than my foot.

I have the remarkable ability to ruin a good pair of socks, especially here. Whether it is sports or simply losing them in the washing machine, I have become quite accomplished. One might ask, “but how do you lose socks in the laundry when there is no washing machine, and you do your laundry by hand?” I would likely respond to that person that they should stop asking questions and being a smartass.

So I had one pair of socks that were entirely ruined – my basketball socks. They were, once upon a time, white. They had a series of holes, including ones around the toe (the worst) and were what I would call crunchy. So I stuffed one inside the other with some yarn and other junk, added some peanut butter, tied it up and gave the dog its very first toy.

So now that I’ve completely wasted your time, I’ll get to the point. Three days after the toy was made, I saw my socks again. They were on the feet of my neighbor.