Fieldset
Fresh Eyes

Any seasoned ER nurse will tell you to never schedule yourself to work on a night where there is a full moon if you can help it… Tonight the sky is full of the big round moon, and the generator broke down which means radio contact is precarious, the plane landed and couldn’t take off again, leavi

Any seasoned ER nurse will tell you to never schedule yourself to work on a night where there is a full moon if you can help it… Tonight the sky is full of the big round moon, and the generator broke down which means radio contact is precarious, the plane landed and couldn’t take off again, leaving four extra houseguests which we scrambled (literally we made extra eggs for dinner!) to accommodate, and I got the news of 12 measles cases one hour from Kilwa, did I mention there was a mass vaccination campaign one month ago? And all of that happened in the span of 20 minutes on the day of the full moon… coincidence? Perhaps…but I have worked a few shifts in the ER during the full moon and I can honestly say, strange things do tend to happen on these nights. Did I mention we hit a chicken with the car and that there are soldiers on the move in one of our sister projects in search of rebels?

I started thinking about the moon, not because of all these strange and coincidental happenings, but because last week we were sitting around the brazier in Kasongomwana and Augustin, one of my drivers, asked me why sometimes the moon is there, and sometimes not, why sometimes it is big and sometimes it is small, and after I got over the initial amazement and understood it to be a serious question, I realized that there are probably a lot of other things I know and take for granted or assume that everybody knows, especially here. I tried to think of other things to tell him about, but it is hard to put yourself in the frame of mind to un-know things, to be in a position of such innocence, it has been a long time since I felt like that…about anything really. I had to rack my brain from my third-grade astrology lesson to try to come up with an intelligent answer. I think I managed ok but I am not sure he was totally convinced, especially the part where the moon itself doesn’t actually light up...and of course that I apparently can't differentiate between astronomy and astrology...

I think that what I have appreciated most, or what I do appreciate most about being here, is that every now and then, I manage to see things through fresh eyes, like I have never seen whatever it is I am looking at before. I am somehow transformed by this feeling, sometimes into someone a little bit less cynical, a little bit more like Augustin (although I'll never have his way with the ladies), a little bit less jaded and a little more in love with the world around me… And for that I count my very lucky stars, and the very full moon, no matter the craziness that comes along with it…just to be able to feel like some part of this world is still new and beautiful and wondrous and good and waiting to be discovered.