This is Peace Corps

The back of my couch regrettably leans forward, causing whoever sits in it to morph into a hunchback. Its cushions are thin and misshaped and its wooden arms boast a multitude of sharp edges existing with the sole purpose to dig into your back. The couch is only two cushions wide, too short to stretch your legs out or even curl up on your side. Out of all of the sitting positions I have attempted, none have proved even slightly comfortable.

Yet, as I plopped down today, I was without grievances. Hunched awkwardly with the slats riding into my butt bones, I was one hundred percent content. Why? Because I had just received a package from two old friends that contained, among other things, a Clif Bar. I hadn’t tasted one in over a year and just looking at the wrapper made my mouth water. Oats. Coconut. Chocolate. Oh my!

The past week or so I had been eating modestly. I’d mostly been cooking with greens that I gather from around my house, eating them with white rice. I hadn’t baked any breads or indulged in spaghetti or even purchased a tasty coke in what seemed like awhile. In addition, I hadn’t received a care package in the past month, so my cravings for any type of goodies, (especially American goodies), was overwhelming. Just before a waterfall of drool fell on my lap, I ripped open the Clif Bar, simultaneously feeling a burning sensation on my arm. Had I been poked by a not-yet-discovered deformity of the couch? The burning sensation turned to an itch so I put down the drool inducing Clif Bar and started scratching. I really went at it, not caring if pieces of skin ended up under my fingernails. Looking down at my arm, I saw that the source of the itch was white and bubbly while it’s surroundings appeared raw and red in color. Not dissimilar from an uncooked Boboli pizza. I scratched further up towards my shoulder and the bubbles spread. I scratched my elbow and they appeared there too. Finally, after gaining some self control, I stopped clawing at myself and went outside to test if pouring water over the irritation would alleviate the uncomfortableness. Nope.

There was nothing for me to do except wait it out, I thought. I’ll just have to take refuge within the chocolatey deliciousness of my Clif Bar and wait for the itching to subside. Retreating inside, I saw something shiny in the corner. No. I took a step closer. No. I made out the word “chocolate” flipped upside down. No no no! There was my prized treat! Or there wasn’t my prized treat, apparently fully enjoyed by someone other than myself, violated and cast aside like a forgotten Barbie doll. I was completely crushed.

While I of course fully suspected Rajah (my pup) as the thief and destroyer of my bliss, my suspicions were undoubtedly confirmed a few hours later as I laid in bed. By then, I was still mourning the loss of my Clif Bar. I was also still itching. I tried not to do so, but that seemed beyond my capabilities. As I laid there wrestling with my mind, I was suddenly jolted awake by a wretched noise. A retching noise. I scrambled to locate my headlight and shine it on the floor, but the smell hit me before the situation was fully illuminated.

Yes, Rajah had puked. But not on my easy-to-clean cement floor. Instead, he spewed through my malaria protecting bed net and all over my toiletries. The vomit splashed my bed frame and then seeped into my woven mat. The vomit. Rajah’s vomit. Rajah’s vomit made up of my Clif Bar. He probably didn’t even enjoy eating it- as it happened in a matter of mere seconds- and I’m sure he didn’t enjoy it coming back up. The particularly disgusting smell of the half-digested Clif Bar spread, causing the hot, humid climate of my bedroom be fully saturated with the stench of vomit. My arm itched intensely. I wanted to sleep. But alas, this is Peace Corps.

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