One thing that struck me about Amy's house was how quiet it was. At first I didn't think she was terribly isolated, and I always kind of saw my house as fairly isolated, but just comparing the level of noise at night makes the difference really apparent. She's about the same distance from the CSPS as I am, and people pass by the path near her house, but just sitting outside at 7pm I hear motos going by my front gate, people in the coffee shack next to my wall, my neighbors talking next to their house, the moulin still put-putting away grinding flour, children screaming and crying and yelling, some soccer match or video playing at the video club, music from someone's radio or cell phone – it's noisy! The predominant noise in her courtyard is the wind in the trees. Very peaceful, but I never realized that all the noise near my house is kind of protective, it makes me feel that even alone in my courtyard I'm clearly not all alone, there are almost always enough people around to hear me if something was wrong.
Today I had my site visit from Sylvie (one of the medical officers), which went really well. I was super chatty, and we talked about a lot of things in addition to the questions she had to ask on her sheet, then toured my CSPS and had lunch at the Maison des Jeunes. I was feeling very contemplative and reflective, saying that she had caught me at the point in my service where things had made a 180 from my first year, that now I'm much more “ca va aller,” able to go with the flow, to go along with the jokes that sound insulting from an American perspective, able to feel productive while being more realistic about what I can and cannot do. She suggested I write something for the PSDN newsletter, reflections on a second year, kind of letting new volunteers know that it gets better in ways I never could have imagined last year. The rest of the day was full of frustrations, but at some point I'll get around to writing it.