Friday, October 7, 2011

Wear & Tear

These shoes weren't made for walking!
Over the past two years I’ve been able to see firsthand how things wear out, break down, fade or rust! I remember in my welcome packet from Peace Corps they reminded us of the dangers of bringing anything irreplaceable to a climate that is so humid. We were told to bring plastic sealable bags to place all of our electronics in, along with Silica Gel packs (those pouches you find in shoe boxes to help suck up all the moisture)! However, despite all the preparations, there was no real solution to battle this climate and the two years of beating our things would go through.

Here are a few things I’ve dealt with:

1. Termites eating through stationary, books, and most of all, all the wooden window frames in my house. Several times throughout the week I have to sweep up the piles of dust the termites leave behind. Most of my window frames look fine from first glance, but if you went and pushed your hands against them, you’d discover they are hollowed out!

2. Electronics crashing or malfunctioning. The i-pod I brought in 2009 lasted about a year here until it fizzled out in November of 2010. And on an even more depressing note, I’m now the owner of two cameras which say they have a lens error, with my newest camera having only worked for two days before the misfortune. But on a brighter note, the camera which I’ve had since the beginning, and which is five years old, still works, it’s just a hassle because it requires AA batteries.

3. My Chaco sandals are now on their last leg, (no pun intended). I bought them right before coming to Samoa, but within the past few months they are getting pretty bad. The bottom of the left shoe has nearly fallen off all the way, and requires me to place duct tape on it to keep it attached (see picture below). I’m bound and determined to make them last for the remaining 10 weeks.

4. I won’t be taking many clothes back home in December. It’s not because I’m being wasteful, but rather because I’m being practical—they are in really bad shape! Faded, stained, molded and with holes in several of them, they have served their purpose, but will be retired by the end of the year. I’ll probably be giving them to neighbors or kids so they can use them as work shirts.

5. The candle on my water filter looks like it was pulled out from the bottom of a swamp. I’ve actually gone through three separate candles for my filter in the past three years. They are supposed to last a year, but no such luck in my case. The one I’m on requires cleaning every other day to keep water filtering through it, but it should last me until I leave.

6. Anything metal rusts so easily. I brought a stapler with me from home which I’ve had since I was about seven years old. It still looked brand new the day I brought it to Samoa, but within a few months it was starting to rust over, and now is nearly all rusted, except for the plastic parts. Paper clips on all my papers are rusted and the spiral binding on my notebooks as well. Living with this much humidity makes anything possible.

So those are a few examples of how two years has had an effect on my things. Overall, I think I’ve been lucky compared to other volunteers in terms of loosing things to the weather and climate. But here’s your warning: if you ever visit the Pacific, or any other equatorial region, be advised that nothing is safe in terms of the climate!

The candle of my water filter looks more like a health hazard as opposed to a means to stay healthy!

The darker color of my shorts you see is the inside of the cargo pocket, the color the shorts were before they faded after two years of wear and tear!

Termite damage to one of my books.

A box of some type of nuts that our principal had the kids gather to sell to China. This is the day they were cracked open at school. See picture below for more!

This is what the box of nuts looked like after sitting in a cardboard box during our two week break from school. The point: mold grows so easily in this climate!

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