I’m trying my hardest not to be a spoiled American while I’m here. But last week
when my hostel didn’t have running water for a day, I broke down. I was cursing at the top of my lungs and punching my walls. Thankfully, I did it in the privacy of my own room. However, I’m certain many of the people living on my floor heard me and now they think I’m a psychopathic girl from America. If it keeps men from hitting on me, I’m totally fine with that.
I feel ashamed about my temper tantrum, especially when the water turned on about two hours later.
I’ve been trying so hard not to be anal about my cleanliness standards and to tolerate the humidity here without the luxury of air conditioning. As someone from the West, it is the first sacrifice you have to make. But sometimes, you just need to scream at the top of your lungs.
I’ve also had to let go of my reservations when it comes to walking through muddy streets and unpaved village roads. To reach many communities, I’ve had to trek up and down steep and slippery hills. After a rainfall, they become even more slippery and muddy. Most of the time, I’ve had to make the trek in nothing but a fragile pair of flip flops.
Whenever I’ve had to do something like that, I don’t want my Sierra Leonean colleagues to think I’m a weak and coddled American who can’t walk up a hill in 90 degree weather. I try my best to suck it up and not complain, even though I’m going crazy in my head.
“Ohmigod, was that dog faeces I just stepped in?”
“What if there’s human urine in this puddle?”
“I can’t wait to go home and take a shower.”
I realize I may sound insulting because it appears as though I’m calling Sierra Leoneans dirty, and I sincerely apologize if it comes off that way.
My point is that my time here has been one major humility lesson, and I believe it is for many Westerners who come here for the first time. It has taught me to be even more appreciative of the people here because they can live and work, day by day, without the little pleasures I take for granted.
To the people of Sierra Leone, thank you very much for humbling me. I dearly needed it.