Sunday, October 6, 2013

July 30: Recovery in Pommern.

(As written in my journal that day; grammar and minor edits only. Italicized portions are additions written after the trip.)

My day of rest. I sleep deeply for most of it - with a few little breaks, starting with chamomile tea (oh, blessings on the volunteer who brought it!), dry toast and the other two oh-my-god-I-am-beyond-glad-I-brought-it chicken noodle soup packets.

Today is the first cloudy day we've had in Pommern, and I can feel a rainy day restlessness set in - I wake off and on to hear the kids constantly nitpicking, arguing, sticking things in the fire - and then getting yelled at for it. Joann has come down with a terrible cold - later I learn she is 74!  I get up at one point to brush my teeth and it's enough effort to prompt a nap. I obsess all day, at any point I wake up, about the need to feel better soon - now - faster - there's only tomorrow and Thursday left! We leave Friday for Dar. Saturday night we fly away.

I read a little bit, finally finishing up with Paul, and I am happy to be done with him. At least I like when he says, "The best writers are scrupulous and pitiless observers." I've long known that "not much gets past me" but it is nice to hear Paul speak of that as a common trait among the writerly species.

The smell of cooking fires has already been a little gross to me - and today I can't take it. The smoke drifting in, and the oil I experience as rancid-smelling, though it's probably not - there were fried doughnuts for breakfast, more greens stewed in it for lunch. I've moved back into my little solo room which is great - but it is also closest to the cement-room kitchen, where cooking is half inside and half in the backyard. I think of Kimi and Bradley, and how tired of oil they are after two months in India each time, something I couldn't truly understand before - and now I can't imagine more of this, much less another six weeks. Every wafting wave of smoke or oil turns my stomach.

Mamatony brings in some mandazi at one point. "Eat! You need to eat." I want to scream at her - get that oil-soaked dough out of my face! I say, "Oh, no, Mamatony, I'm ok."

"No, no, you need strength. Eat - eat." She pushes it at me. I point at my dry toast and tell her I'm starting with that and soup. She looks at my powered soup very skeptically. I tell her that American stomachs always heal with that kind of soup, and I promise I will eat her food when I feel a little stronger, but I need to start here.

Marie gets me a Sprite from the little pop stand up the dirt road, and it is the best thing I've ever tasted. (She gets me a Coke too; also freaking delicious.) I manage to get up for dinner - a feat! - and thank god Mamatony has included plain white rice on the menu tonight. Although nothing is really plain - there's some margarine or cooking oil in this, I can feel a little sheen. I can't stop thinking about Shelly's Vegan Wrap from Elephants Deli in Portland - something tart and vinegary, with sweet grapes and crunchy apples. I lean against the wall during dinner and am happy to get back to bed - with high hopes for tomorrow.

And because if you're my mother, or happen to be someone else who is wondering... no, I didn't attempt a sun shower. So I've been lying in the same outfit, with the same dried sweat, since 4 PM on Monday, and it's now 9 PM on Tuesday, and I'm just going to ride it out until tomorrow.


  1. Couldn't comment until this 2nd reading, too upsetting first truly awful,how you were so brave & had such character to endure rhe emotional & physical adversities...water,clean surroundings,all our 1st world life, will never be the same. Hoing you hsven't had flash-backs/nightmares

  2. Typing on iPad,laptop temporarily(?) many typos ...