Thing Things You Don't Realize...

… when you have everything.

  • Did you ever realize how dirty you get when you don’t have an actual shower? We are in the midst of dry season here and water is a more precious commodity than ever. While I am lucky and have gotten in good with neighbor kids who come to fetch water for me daily, the supply is still limited. As a result, bucket-bathing daily has become a luxury. That, and it’s really just a huge pain in the rear end. No worries, I have plentiful stock of deodorant to prevent me from ever smelling like some of the Cameroonians around. But seriously, when you don’t have streams of water hitting your body, you don’t really get that clean…
  • Do you realize how nice it is to do dishes with running/hot water? Nowadays, I often laugh at how my mother used to yell at me for doing dishes with water that isn’t hot enough. “It’s not killing the germs,” she’d say. Only if she can see how I do dishes now. I have two buckets – one for washing, another for rinsing. With shortage of water supply these days, the water have to last for longer than before. I think 1/3 of my “dish-cleaning” actually depend on the towels when I dry my dishes… And now, no one wants to come visit me…
  • Do you realize what luxury it is to go to a supermarket and can find virtually anything you need in your house? But not just any supermarket, but one that is well lit, organized, has a healthy variety of each product that aren’t expired. Do you realize the frustration when you are at the “white man’s store” and you think you can find something, but when you get there, there is one kind and not the kind you want. Or when you think you are going on this great “splurge” of a trip to the supermarket, and then you realize the store isn’t as exciting as you had remembered. (when I confuse Target with the supermarché in Bafoussam… That’s quite the disappointment.)
  • Do you realize how precious your personal space is? “you are in my bubble” doesn’t apply here. You get on a bus here, a big bus where one seat actually means one person, not two. You are happy to have your space, and then the medicine man begins to bug the entire busy selling his magic drug that’s going to cure this that or the other. He goes on for hours. Loud and obnoxious. You think, “I want my space. Leave me the hell alone.” But you can’t. When he stops talking, the driver starts to blare some music. You get no choice of whether you want to listen to it or not.
  • Do you realize how just how wonderful indirect lightening is? Can you imagine when the only lightening that exists in your life is white fluorescent tubes? You know those lamps you put next to your bed for reading? Do you realize how those change your mood? If you have no idea what I am talking about, then you seriously need a visit to a hardware store and imagine that as your house.
  • Do you realize how much time you waste sitting in front of a TV surfing the channel? I am not talking about watching TV. It doesn’t count when you are actually watching a programming. I am talking about the amount of time you literally sit in front of your TV and pressing the up and down keys on your remote control. You should tally – it’s absurd.
  • Do you realize the amount of things you can get done on the high speed Internet in one hour? Most of you have unlimited access to the net and you have no idea how much time you are actually spending on it. I, on the other hand, am often restricted with different time increments during my Internet usage. I am amazed sometimes how much I get done on a good connection day in an hour and then I think about how much I could get done if I had cable Internet! Do you ever think about your Internet productivity? Or you are so used to having everything at your fingertip that you take time for granted? You check facebook 5 times for no reason, then watch 3 YouTube videos for the hell of it, open 5 webpages just because, and before you know it, you’ve done absolutely nothing productive.

I can go on forever. I am thankful to be living in the middle of nowhere so I can be a more productive and appreciative human being when I return to living in the centre of everything.



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.