Well, in the Peace Corps, there is one very easy way to determine exactly if and how much someone loves you.
Two words: Care packages.
Only a PCV would understand exactly how important these can be to our sanity. In the first few months, especially, packages make all the difference. In this case, size doesn’t necessarily matter, however the rule always stands, the bigger, the better.
Case in point: The 40 pound box of love.
*This story is dedicated to a very special volunteer, Dorothy, and her friend from New Mexico*
On my way to Bushenyi to visit Andrew for his 25th birthday (Happy Birthday, jerkstore), I decided to pop in on Dorothy and see how she was doing. It must have been fate because that very day Dorothy got the much anticipated 40 pound box.
Now, let’s just put this in perspective…Peace Corps allows each bag brought in-country to weigh just about 40 pounds. That means, this box weighed just about the same as a regulation check-in bag for a volunteer anticipating being away from home for 2 years. Have I emphasized what can only be described as the glory that was only to come from this box of love?
When we took the box to Dorothy’s humble abode, we found a hole in one of the corners, suggesting a critter had gotten into the box. Dorothy, being the smart woman she is, took the box outside before sinking her teeth into it (figuratively, that is). As she opened the box, we quickly realized that some of the goodies had not made the long journey from New Mexico to Masaka. Sadly, some Ramen Noodle packets exploded and ants were everywhere (seriously, we were cleaning them up a good hour later). After filtering out the salvageable from the too far gone, we found nothing but the look (and later found out the taste) of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, we had a feast in tribute to America (and of course Dorothy’s wonderful friend by proxy). The only thing that was heard for the next hour or two was the munching of snacks, the crumpling of wrappers, and the silence that only occurs when no words can express how happy and loved we felt (of course, Dorothy more than I, but the fact that she shared made me feel loved by her and her friend).