24 July 2012

It's that time of year again.

Alright, guys, I know it’s been a while, so here we go. Round (insert sequential number here). Just as a forewarning, this post might be a bit sentimental or ‘preachy,’ (maybe?) but just go with it. I’ve got a lot to say about this one.

So, some of you may know that I’m five days into doing Ramadan for the second time in a row. I have gotten NUMEROUS questions from vols and locals alike asking me why the hell I’m doing this, for a second time, no less. Despite whatever answer I give them at the time, I always feel like it’s not enough for a reason for whomever is asking to comprehend why I’m willingly starving myself of food and water for thirty days (during daylight hours). Here are the reasons I come up with. They make sense to me, and I think that’s really all that matters, right?

-       I’ve always wanted to try it. Having learned about Islam and its culture for the past however many years, having lived in multiple places where Islam is the dominant religion, I had wanted to try to experience on of the pillars of the religion.
-       With that being said, in my head, taking part in Ramadan helps me integrate further into the Kyrgyz culture. In theory, Islam is the main religion of Kyrgyzstan. It might not be in practice (see: copious amounts of alcohol intake and smoking cigarettes), but for some people it is. By doing орозо, I am doing something that unites people. Also, I would like to think that by my doing this now, I have started conditioning myself for the ‘real deal’ when I get to the Middle East (inshaAllah).
-       It’s a respect thing. I might not get the respect from everyone I met that finds out I’m doing it, but those that do, it’s really gratifying to have that acknowledged. To have some people I hold in very high regard say to me ‘I’m incredibly impressed, and a bit confused as to why you’re doing this, but think it’s really admirable.’ I don’t know if that means I just need my own ego inflated every once in a while, but hey – I’m doing something physically and mentally tough, I deserve it sometimes, right?
-       The sense of accomplishment and pride after having done it is indescribable. To look back and think ‘Damn, I just went 30 days without eating and drinking during the day. And it’s been hot as balls. And I’ve done it while working a bunch of summer camps. Pat on the back for Hopkins.’ It is something I started, struggled through (oh, and did/am I strugglin’) and stuck with until the very end. Doesn’t happen often; not with something this big and important and low and behold, BAM!
-       Over the course of the month, I’m also given the chance to do a lot of reflection and so-called meditation. I can think about how this is the daily lives of people all over the world: they don’t get access to clean drinking water whenever they want (not even for sale); they don’t always have the ability to have three healthy meals a day; they don’t GET to willingly give up these things on a whim just to see if you can. How incredibly lucky and grateful am I to have all those things, even in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps and how even luckier I am to have it all indefinitely back home?!

Right now, that’s all I’ve got. I’m sure there are more reasons somewhere in this addled brain of mine. But now I’m brain dead after workin’ on camp stuff all day without food or water. So, it’s off to rinse off in a cold shower (so reminiscent of Africa, which is fitting since Zarins is being a gem and visiting!) before crashing and burning. Gotta be up in a few hours.

Please know I’m thinking about you all every day. Hope you’re not dying of the heat and surviving your summers. For those of you about to get married or starting big adventures recently, I’m sending you all the best wishes and leg-breaking. Let me know what you all are up to these days? Who’s going to Lolla? With a sick line up like that, you’d be an idiot NOT to venture into Millennium Park for that! Still not speaking to Steph and Akash about their three-day tickets. I want to hear EVERYTHING about it.

Missing you all loads.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Kyrgyzstan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Kyrgyzstan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez