The following content is comprised of personal opinions, and in no way reflects the opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The 25 List

I originally started this this past November, but was unable to finish it because I left it on my office computer while I was in America. Read on
In accordance with the fact that I have now been in Rwanda for 25 months (and the fact that I just turned 25), here are 25 things I didn't know when I left America:

25) Making a list of things to Google is nowhere near as effective as actually Googling them.
24) There is, in fact, such a thing as 'bad music.' Justin Beiber is currently running as its President.
23) Ask me to live without running water, fine. Ask me to live with a decent bed, I will cut you.
22) Avocadoes:  not so bad.
23) Hot showers are not counted as NEEDS, although they should be.
22) I can stare at a blank wall for 45 minutes before I begin to question why I am staring at a blank wall.
21) Alcohol made from pineapple = delicious. Alcohol made from bananas or sorghum = not.
20) Sarcastically talking back to Rwandans in English might not improve the situation, but it does make me feel a whole lot better.
19) Money isn't everything, but it is something. And if you spend all of it before the month is out, it becomes real hard to buy food.
20) I will read any book. Except Twilight.
19) Never underestimate the ability to use Google properly.
18) I cannot grow a beard. No, you cannot see the photos.
17) A flush toilet is always better that a pit latrine, except when the water goes out. That's when the 'flushing' part becomes complicated.
16) If you use a laptop for 6 hours every day, it's going to die on you.
15) Beer in Rwanda does not solve your problems. It just distracts you with its horrible taste so you can forget about the problems for 5 minutes.
14) American candy is a universally accepted form of currency.
13) Solving a Rubik's cube: not that hard. Getting people to care that you can solve a Rubik's cube: much, much harder.
12) Sleeping under a Princess-style mosquito net does not make you a princess. It makes you not have Malaria.
11) A college education does not prepare you for life; it prepares you to be able to prepare for life.
10) Drinking untreated water = bacterial diarrhea. It's simple math people.
9) A degree in Media Communication Technology and Social Scientific Research is mostly useless until you find yourself in charge of communication technology for a group of possible research subjects.
8) "War and Peace" By Leo Tolstoy is my Kryptonite; I can never get past the first dozen pages, and I've read "Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe," "Tony Blair: A Journey," "Before European Hegemony," "Ideology: An Introduction," and the Fifth Edition of "Diffusion of Innovations" in an attempt to put it off.
7) Regardless of what Ted Mosby thinks, a Pros and Cons list is NOT a scientific, reliable, or unbiased way of making a decision.
6) The single greatest travesty ever imposed on the American People by the entertainment industry was the cancellation of Firefly.
5) A concrete house CAN catch on fire.
4) It is common knowledge that intellectual property should be protected, but also that every person has the right to download EVERYTHING for free.
3) Personal space is a highly Western notion that is just as inconceivable to many rural Africans as family planning is.
2) Never, EVER underestimate the power of communicating with someone in their native language.
1) Sometimes, you just have to take action. Sitting around and thinking about it for too long is only straining your ability to process reality. Stop contemplating, get off your butt, and go get some things done. So they may not be perfect, they may not even have worked, but at least you had the courage to DO something and the foresight to learn from it. You did learn something, right?
More coming your way soon

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