October 5, 2003 - The Glimpse: Kymberly Pipkin writes about his daughter serving in the Peace Corps in Bukoba, Tanzania

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tanzania: Peace Corps Tanzania: The Peace Corps in Tanzania: October 5, 2003 - The Glimpse: Kymberly Pipkin writes about his daughter serving in the Peace Corps in Bukoba, Tanzania

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-6-140.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, October 05, 2003 - 1:52 pm: Edit Post

Kymberly Pipkin writes about his daughter serving in the Peace Corps in Bukoba, Tanzania

Kymberly Pipkin writes about his daughter serving in the Peace Corps in Bukoba, Tanzania

On Learning the Relevancy of a Juris Doctorate TANZANIA
Kymberly Pipkin >> To have and to hold...
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Villagers sit in front of their home.

I never met anyone I ate before.
Asked to cull a goat out from the small herd,
how do I select the one honored to become my meal?
I watch as its soft brown eyes rim with white,
and it struggles against the boy who holds it firmly
while his mother draws the knife across its neck.
I long for nameless, faceless meat
that I have never watched breathe,
ground up and packaged,
not coarse hide and bloody organs
that I once heard bleat.

I never walked to draw my water before.
The women swing their jugs effortlessly up onto their heads,
then sashay back on uneven paths, staying dry
while I trudge under the weight of the water,
spilling more than my daily portion.
Rust-colored dust softly rises from our feet
and coats our throats, yet
the water cannot be drunk
until the children return with kindling,
and the water is boiled.
I dream of cool, transparent water
without leaves or lt,
pouring from a tap inside my house.
Children carry home water.

I never competed with animals for my food before.
The grasshoppers nip my hands
as I pick squash leaves,
birds big as small cats noisily protest
my intrusion into their mango tree.
Worms lazily eat their way out of the fruit I have gathered.
Bony chickens and slinking dogs anxiously eye me,
prepared to wrest my harvest should I drop it.
I want to open a package of rice
with rocks and soil already removed, and
bite into a piece of fruit without a fear of worms.

I never waited six hours for a bus before.
and when it comes, weighted down beyond capacity,
seemingly unfettered by a schedule,
no shock absorbers to cushion us from the pitted dirt road,
everyone squeezes over to include me. Hours later,
someone graciously walks me from the road
up the forking paths to my destination,
as I am lost beyond repair.
I fondly remember paved streets
with clerly marked signs,
illuminated by artificial lighting.
Child stands next to the day's harvest.

My proficiency at words is an unknown currency here,
My skill at carving through bureaucratic thickets
has no useful application: there is no paper to be pushed.
I am uneducated in all things relevant,
reduced to the mercy of strangers and small children.
There are no unknown vendors
whom I can pay to meet my daily needs.
My keen ache for the familiar
is as much for the comforts of home
as for my illusion of self-sufficiency.

Kymberly Pipkin is privileged to have a daughter serving in the Peace Corps in Bukoba, Tanzania, and lucky enough to have been able to visit for a month. Kymís stateside credentials as an attorney and administrative law judge proved useless during her visit.

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Story Source: The Glimpse

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - South Africa; Poetry



By Kymberly Pipkin (adsl-71-142-210-170.dsl.scrm01.pacbell.net - on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 10:47 pm: Edit Post

Gee whiz. I googled my name and was disappointed to find someone gave me a sex change operation. I'm Lena's Mom! (Mama Marialena to all you fellow TZ PCV's)

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