So, after months now knee-deep in blogs and books and YouTube videos about Peace Corps service, I say to my husband over one of our typical two-hour weekend lunches at a local diner, “I think I’ve crossed the line and any additional research is too much now.”
He says, “What do you mean?”
“Well,” I continue, “you know how I thought it was rustic, but do-able, to have to bathe in a creek if I had gotten the Jamaica placement for which I originally applied?”
“Turns out you can’t bathe in hardly any of the waterways in Uganda, including Lake Victoria and the River Nile, because of bilharzia,” I reply.
“Yes, also known as schistosomiasis.”
“Also known as snail fever,” I add with a hand flourish. “There are freshwater snails that harbor parasitic worms that get into people and burrow. They can live in a human host for three to forty years.”
“Stop. Not now. Not while I’m eating,” he pleads.
So I wait. I finish my black bean burger as he eats his salami and eggs. I snag some of his fries. Time and conversation pass and then it’s finally okay to continue.
“Yeah, apparently if you feel shells crushing beneath your feet while walking into a water source, there’s snail fever in that water. But here’s the thing,” I lean forward, conspiratorially.
He leans in.
“Lake Nabugabo,” I practically whisper.
“Lake Nabugabo?” he asks.
“Yes. Lake Nabugabo has no snail fever,” I reveal. “But that’s not all. It also has no crocodiles, and no hippos. And, who knew? Apparently hippos are an issue.”
His eyes get wide.
“So,” I continue. “what I’m wondering is if on Day 10 or so of training when we get to bid on our project assignments, maybe a top criteria of mine should be a project near Lake Nabugabo. Or have I researched too much at this point?”
“Yes to Lake Nabugabo!” he exclaims. “No, you haven’t researched too much. This is an important thing to know!”
And what does any of this have to do with goat yoga, you may ask?
Well, I know many Peace Corps Volunteers bring yoga mats with them. And I know there will be goats in my village (if, if, if I ever get through medical and legal clearance). So I got to wondering about the super-trendy practice of including goats in yoga classes and set out to do some hands-on research. Thus, I learned something important yesterday at my first goat yoga class in a field at the back of a church in a historic railroad-stop city on the outskirts of Atlanta.
Goats really do not willingly participate in a yoga class without goat wranglers and continual handfuls of food. And they don’t just climb up on your back and massage away your worries. So I won’t be counting on goats in Uganda to downward dog with me when all they really want to do is pee on the mat. (Speaking of dogs, by the way, there are packs of wild dogs. But that’s another story.)
And so, although goat yoga was an interesting novelty, Traveling at the Speed of Bike is still my preferred way to relax, let go, and trust the journey — whether or not it ever takes me to Lake Nabugabo, or a village filled with goats.
My Peace Corps series of posts to date:
You may enjoy my books, available on Amazon in all global markets as well as on other sites where books are sold (including Better World Books, which donates books to those in need — possibly even where I’m going — every time a book is purchased). See my USA Amazon page here. There are significant goat stories in all three of the books listed!