Monday, February 9, 2009

The Nana, Part 2

My Nana Part 2

We left my nana in an earlier post when she was pounding on the door of my room and screaming to be let in. After this incident, she would only speak to me when spoken to and did not look at me.

I was already set to leave this family and possibly return in two months. My nana’s daughter, in whose home we were living, had been unexpectedly asked by her employer to move to Baku for a couple of months. Everyone in the family was upset by this move, as the daughter has a side business which she would have to abandon while she lived in Baku. Also, they had committed to housing me through April so they were upset and embarrassed at having to ask me to leave.

I found a new home and my nana and her daughter had a relative take their baggage to Baku. Moving day came—I was getting ready to put my things into a taxi and they were taking a train to Baku the same evening. As I moved my things to the front door, I noticed my nana busily packing up some china, directing her daughter to pack food from the refrigerator in bags and putting pots and pans in boxes. She always kept her purse with her, although had left the house only a handful of times in the past year. She gets a small pension from the government and sends her grandson to the ATM for the payment each month.

I was puzzled about the packing and asked what they were doing with the boxes and bags. The daughter, who speaks English, explained that her mother was directing her to pack up the pots and china to give to me, as I might need them in my new home. Also, they were not sure my new family would have my favorite foods on hand, so my nana had sent my host mother to the market earlier to get them.

After I had thanked them and refused the pots and china, I took the food—I figured they could not take it to Baku. My nana still was not looking at me, but asked how much Peace Corps would pay for the taxi trip across town with my belongings. I told her that they would not reimburse me. She began speaking angrily in Russian and my host mother told me she was again denouncing the Peace Corps (she does not understand the concept of volunteerism and is angry because she knows I don’t get a salary. She spoke on the phone regularly with relatives about how terrible the Peace Corps is to ask me to work for no salary).

I said goodbye and gave her a note I had written to thank her for being part of my host family. When I got to the taxi three flights below, she had her head out the window and was yelling at the taxi driver in Russian, while waving her purse. As I watched, she yanked opened her purse, retrieved some bills and began tossing them out the window while she yelled at him.

I asked him what was going on and he said she wanted to pay for the taxi because the American government is terrible. I waved, yelled my thanks and went to my new home.

1 comment:

joel said...

Love the new colors!

I was worried about you after your last post. Thank you for the 2nd installment. I wonder if there are others that as the Nana does regarding the idea of volunteerism. Charitable giving a very unique characteristic of the US. How do you explain working for nothing to someone who has nothing?