Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Sand Beneath My Feet

A friend recently passed on a book for me to read. It was given to her by author, and passed on to me because she thought I would be able to relate to the author's experience. I thought she was nuts, but I was wrong.

The book is The Ice Beneath My Feet by Diana Patterson. Ms Patterson was the first female station leader at an Australian research post in Antarctica. Her book is all about that experience, and it is fascinating. I highly recommend the book just for a fun read. Her descriptions of Antarctica and its inhabitants are interesting, but her stories of dog-sled expeditions and even the day-to-day of station life are both well-crafted and often hilarious. Reading about ice and cold was a nice change to the sweltering heat we've been experiencing lately here in Africa.

While the setting was dramatically different, I was able to relate to a large portion of the book from my perspective as a Peace Corps volunteer. The importance of mail is an obvious example, less obvious might be the lack of physical contact (go a few months without a hug and see how you feel) or the great disadvantage women face in needing to use the facilities in an environment where no such facilities exist (these passages in Ms Patterson's book are painfully funny and put my sunken pit toilet in a whole lot of perspective). I certainly stand corrected in my presumption that the only people in the world who can relate to the experience of PCVs are fellow PCVs. Apparently, those living in Antarctica have some pretty similar experiences.

In other news, we are two weeks out from the Longtom marathon and if you haven't yet donated, please do! I am $30 away from $250! Let's make it happen! Any amount, no matter how small, will go a long way towards helping KLM provide an Uplands education to another rural learner. Many thanks!

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