I think the reason for this is that I am planning a holiday. In September (that is exactly 9 weeks away, I double count every day) I am travelling back to the UK for a week or so, and then on to USA for 2 weeks. As I have been planning and fantisizing about this fantastic event, I have been dreaming of all the things I am going to enjoy while I am there. And this is where the problems start. Because suddenly I am reminded of how many things I currently miss.
I shall give a brief rundown, in no particular order:
- Hot showers, or showers with water pressure. All showers here are cold (except in the USAID compound, which we have access to once a week on Sundays when they open the pool area and showers to a select invited few- trust American NGO's to have luxuries in Sudan... and to be stingy).
- Being able to walk from my shower to the mess area and still be clean. I can just about make it to my room/tent while remaining clean, but by the time I get to the mess area I have a sheen of dust on me.
- Having hair I can pull a brush through. I use the following products: Deep Moisturising Shampoo, Deep Moisturising Conditioner, Nourishing Hair mask, and then, after towel drying, Nourishing Leave-in Conditioner. Within an hour of my hair drying, the tips are frizzy, the rest is brittle and it tangles if I so much as touch it. I have long hair. Most of the way down my back. I think I might shave my head.
- Roads. The 'roads' here are made from Murrum. Its a clay type sand with stones in it that makes a passable road surface when its dry and new. After even one bout of rain however, it is not only corrugated, but liable to develope rivers down the middle. Driving is a new adventure after every rainstorm.
- A kitchen. Not just a room with a stove and a fridge and a work surface. I mean a REAL kitchen. With nice laminate or marble countertops, tile floors, an oven that works, untensils and, most importantly, food that I can guarantee isnt going to give me salmonella.
- Staff. I dont mean having staff around. To be honest I would much rather wash my own clothes and do my own dishes and mow my own lawn, if only it meant that I could get out of bed in the morning and go to the bathroom without having to put clothes on in case the staff see me. Or walk round the property at night without having people watching me. What I miss is staff that understand what you are asking for. The service staff here just dont. Even if they speak English, they just dont. For example, there is a woman that cleans our rooms. I say to her every day that she must just leave my bed alone, as I like it the way I make it. Every day she comes in, shakes out the sheets which I have neatly laid, and then folds the whole lot up in the middle of the bed in a neat little square, surrounded by a expanse of undersheet. Eventually I gave up and told her not to clean my room, I was so irritated. However, when I decided that it needed a sweep (probably about an hour later) I went in search of a broom and was immediately swamped by staff who were intensely offended that I wanted to sweep my own room, because 'Madam shouldnt have to do the work.' I finally agreed to leave them to it and when I returned an hour later, the bedlinen was once again folded up neatly in the centre of the bed. Please note that these staff are Kenyan. Sudanese staff can generally be found under a tree sleeping. They have been at war for 20 years and the concept of 9-5 is truely foreign.
- Food. As my finale, I think food is the thing I miss the most. I miss steak you can cut without resorting to a hacksaw, I miss chicken that you know wont kill you, I miss vegetables other than tomatoes, peppers and onions, I miss sauces, sushi, fresh fish, risotto, pies, desserts, chocolate, ice cream, fresh milk, filter coffee, pastries, carpaccio, fresh homemade tortellini, FOOD!
When I arrive on London, I am going to do the following in this order: Have a shower, wash my hair, go shopping using real roads to get there, make a real homemade, fresh meal, sleep in a bed made like a normal person makes their bed, and in the morning I am going to walk to the bathroom naked. Yes, naked. (Miss M, I know I will be staying with you, but I am sure you will understand the need, and that you will simply avert your eyes. You have seen it all before after all).
I think that after that I will be ready for the holiday.
Actually I forget one last thing. I am going to pour myself a glass of tapwater, and drink the whole damn thing, and LAUGH in the face of Typhoid and Bilharzia!