Thursday, April 7, 2011

failed 3 month challenge

Well I didn't make it to three months. Three weeks in and I had to come back to the capital to see a doctor. I'm fine now and I got a few days online! Being out at village is going pretty good. I've been working hard to get to know the people I will be living with for the next three years. Its a fairly small village with only 30 compounds. I'm trying to learn everyone’s name, well at least the adults. I am working with a leader in the village to take a census of the village and writing down everyone’s name and age. Its going to be a good Segway into working on my village assessment assignment. This assignment is a report on the village that analysis the villages current state and looks for areas that could be improved. Hopefully it will identify what projects I will be spending the next two years on. I have a few ideas already. I know I'd like to tutor some of the village children, especially my host sister who’s in the third grade here. We've been spending the hot afternoons under our mango tree reviewing the alphabet. And man have there been a lot of those hot days, some have been saying that it got up to 130F recently. My village shuts down around from noon till about 4pm when the heat is at its worst.

Most days I've been waking up early and going to fetch water. My village has three hand pumps, and they have been breaking a lot. So now my entire village is using just one pump, this makes for a long line and a long walk home. I can balance a smallish bucket on my head, which is actually makes it easier. After the water fetching I do a few chores, sometimes laundry. Then I find my counterpart and we start working on the census. We work until its too hot and then go relax. I eat with my family out of the common bowl and lunch is usually very good. In the late afternoon I go to the women’s garden. I've planted some squash, okra, and cucumbers because they all like this hot season. These are the things I do every day. There is also a lot of sitting a chatting in peoples compounds, drinking attaya. I am also looking after my new kitten, Bowie (in Space). I hope he/she will grow up to kill a lot of rodents around my house. Twice so far I've gone to the weekly market, lumo, up the road a half an hour. Its a crazy place where I am happy to say it seems you can find just about anything. Including Peace Corps volunteers from neighboring villages, which is a nice treat.

I've been going to a lot of ceremonies lately. My village has had three naming ceremonies since I've been there. I also have been to a wedding ceremony now. They are intense and last for days. First you have a celebration for the bride in her village. She gets so decked out in Pular bling. Hana Anklets, bracelets, necklaces and even elaborate hair beads. The confusing part is after all of this she says hidden under a veil the entire time. I only know what she looked like because they let me peak. Tons of people gather for dancing, drumming, and eating. The party continues the next night when the bride is brought to her new husband’s village. I still am unclear about all different traditions and what the actually ceremony consists of. But this is wedding season so maybe I will figure it out soon.

Two more months of three month challenge! Tomorrow its back to village again…