Some friends have said ‘You must have endured such hardship wandering in out-of-the-way corners of the earth.’ I have. But such count for nothing, since I have lived in Nature’s boundless halls and drank deeply of her pleasures. Where does hardship figure when the reward is such? ~ Ernest Henry Wilson…..It’s been too long… The August break was fantastic!School was extended for an extra week so that teachers could grade exams – which meant that I played a lot of games, read a lot of books and threw a lot of frisbee with my kids. It also meant that I had precious little time to prepare for my 2 weeks away from my house. (Mainly, try to make it inhospitable for the giant roaches that inevitably take over while I’m gone.) We closed school on Thursday. Saturday the water stopped working at my house and I headed down to a fancy hotel in Mombasa for Cross Sector Training only to be called by my neighbor and told that the water was back on and they could hear it running (and running and running) in my house. They turned the water off outside but that meant my neighbor’s water was off too. So Sunday I missed language training and took the 2 hour matatu back up to Malindi to check my faucets. The water was off again and when I tested one of the faucets you could hear the pressure so there is no way I could have left a faucet on. Sijui! If it was the toilet they’d just have to keep turning the water off outside. (Maybe there are benefits to holes in the ground instead of western choos.) But, luckily, there were no problems after that. 2 hour trip back to Mombasa and I made it in time for lunch!Cross Sector Training is paid for by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.) It was the best training we’ve had so far! Our counterparts joined us and provided good insight in discussions. One of the major factors we discussed about the prevention of HIV/AIDS is that in America condom use was already common before the AIDS epidemic really started. Now, in America, there are many other reasons to use a condom – reasons you probably consider before you even think about AIDS. In America, buying your first condom is proud moment. But, in Kenya, condoms seem to be seen solely as “AIDS preventers” and, therefore, are stigmatized. You’re ashamed to buy condoms (or even take them for free) because it’s often questioned, “Why does he need a condom? Does he have AIDS?” “Why do you want to use a condom? Do you think I’ve cheated?” etc. How does that change?We learned a few games to play with our students to teach about HIV/AIDS, visited Camara and the Mombasa Trade Fair.We also had a slightly heated discussion about the new Peace Corps reporting thing-a-ma-jig that seems pretty impractical. We’ll see what happens… Will Windows Excel macros work on a Mac? Sijui! Do I even know what I’m talking about? Hakuna! Does it even mater, if most volunteers (worldwide) didn’t bring a laptop and have to pay per minute to download/upload everything with extremely slow internet?The food, the bed, the HOT shower(!!!) all added greatly to the benefits of going to another training!And then, there was Zanzibar!!!After training, Paul, Charlotte, Alyssa, Matt and I went to Zanzibar for a week of vacation! We spent 4 days in Stone Town shopping and eating; we went on a Spice tour and ate at an amazing outdoor seafood market – I had shark, octopus, many different kinds of fish, calamari, and sugar cane juice is delicious! Then, we headed to Paje Beach on the east coast for some major beach time at a nice little resort! We even had a bathtub!!! (Thanks for the bath salts, Ryan!) There were an amazing number of languages to overhear and it makes me wonder, what makes Malindi almost solely an Italian tourist destination but Zanzibar a universal tourist destination. Maybe it’s just because it sounds so cool! “Zanzibar! Zanzzzibar!” The beach view from our resort was definitely a picture you see on postcards but never actually get to visit! The flights to and from Zanzibar were on small planes that we walked out onto and made Paul feel famous but made me sick to my stomach. (They were worth it but, it’s unimaginable to me now that I once paid to do stunts in an airplane!) Is there a boat I can take back to the US?!Now I’m back home. I’ve had a few different projects; evicting/exterminating the roaches, meeting with other PCVs, teaching sign language to VCT counselors, cleaning… but, I’ve also had a lot of time to relax.I turn 26 on Tuesday. Not really sure how I feel about that. Here’s some new info about Virgos that I hadn’t heard before:Your birth tree isWeeping Willow, the MelancholyBeautiful but full of melancholy, attractive, very empathic, loves anything beautiful and tasteful, loves to travel, dreamer, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with, demanding, good intuition, suffers in love but finds sometimes an anchoring partner.hmmm…Just found out my house mama had a baby boy today!Lots of pics as soon as I can get down to Mombasa!