Part of the All Vol festivities was the GYD Silent Auction. GYD is Gender Youth Development. They raise money to support their programs at All Vol with a bake sale, silent auction, and date auction.
There were some pretty cool things up for grabs at the silent auction. The items are primarily from other PCVs who are either leaving soon or have something to get rid of. Items included: a guitar, a toaster oven, deodorant, Clif Bars, conditioner, and various other goods.
So let’s side track for a small bit. Recently, Mali (a country in West Africa in case you don’t know) had a coup. There were about 200 Peace Corps Volunteers in Mali. Last week they were evacuated from the country and the Peace Corps program there was suspended. That means all the volunteers are forced to leave the country. They have to choose whether or not to accept early Close of Service (COS) and go home or if they would like to start again in a new country. The volunteers that were in Mali had been there for either 1 year or were only 3 months away from leaving. All the Mali volunteers were in Ghana for their COS conference. This was spearheaded by the Chief of Operations for Africa – a Peace Corps official from headquarters in DC. I couldn’t even imagine the workload our staff was under for the past two weeks. Having to scramble and arrange lodging for 200 volunteers and everything that goes with that. I give them major credit for handling that AND our All Vol conference back to back.
So the Chief of Operations is a very nice lady who knew exactly how Peace Corps Volunteers think – with their stomachs. She brought with her a big bag of American food, including oreos, girl scout cookies, and cheez-its. Lucky for us, she saved some for our group.
So, back to the silent auction. When I first visited the table it had some cool stuff, but nothing I really wanted to bid on. Then the CO came over and forked over her boxes of Cheez-Its, Girl Scout Cookies, and Oreos. I was inside when this happened. Mary came to get me, told me to follow her immediately and led me outside. What do I see on the auction table? CHEEZ-ITS.
If you don’t know me, you don’t know my strong and overwhelming LOVE for Cheez-Its. When I open a box of Cheez-Its, it is like heaven pours out of the box and hits me with rainbows. The first bite is like a ray of sunshine after years of clouds. Getting to the end of the box is more depressing than the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I love Cheez-Its. When I saw that box I knew I had to bid on it. I had to make it mine.
The bidding started at 4cd. I put down 5. Someone else grabs the box. 6cd. All the while Mary is standing next to me with another box of Cheez-Its doing the exact same thing I am. Staking out and not giving in. The bidding goes back and forth for both of us. All the while we are hovering at the table, blocking the boxes from sight, we are both staring everyone down who comes to even glance at the boxes. We glare at anyone who picks it up. I am pretty sure the lasers I shot out of my eyes left a few scars on some poor individuals – sorry-o! I am a pretty competitive person, okay that’s a lie. I am extremely competitive. This box of Cheez-Its was like competing in the Olympics for me. And I was out to win the gold medal.
After about 10 minutes of our staking out, CD Mike comes over and wants to bid on the Cheez-Its. I am sure the look Mary and I gave him could have gotten us Admin Separated. He walks away and comes back 20 minutes later ready to bid again. Mary and I were incredulous. Who does CD Mike think he is? What’s he playing at? Can this be considered torture under the Geneva Convention? Thank god he was just teasing and walked away again. Otherwise Mary and I would have staged our own coup.
So the bidding is getting pretty intense. There are 3 or 4 people in on my box and a lot more on Mary’s. The competition is heating up. My box is now up to 23cd and Mary’s 15cd. At this point we have been at the table for about 45 minutes. With just a few minutes left my box gets to 25cd. No way. I ain’t having it. Mary’s box is way more intense. I put in my final bid of 26cd and no one touches my box again. BAM. Take that!
Mary’s box came down to the wire with literally the seconds being called out while she slowly wrote her name so as to hold onto the box for as long as possible. Some people said that was cheating, I call it resourceful. Semantics. Either way we both walked away gloating. We had just spent a ridiculous amount of money on Cheez-Its. (Mary’s box ended up being 16.50cd and mine was 26cd) Holding our boxes like anyone and everyone was going to steal it, we went to sit down. I was clutching my box like a mom might clutch a baby while walking over a tight-rope. The CO came over to congratulate us on our wins and to share her enthusiasm for Cheez-Its.
Then CD Mike came over to tease us further for spending a fortune on boxes of happiness. He in fact teased me for the rest of the conference about that box of Cheez-Its. All in good fun. The money went to a good cause and I walked away ecstatic. Win. Win.
I think I might have discovered the secret to happiness and it is Cheez-It.