Monday, November 19, 2007

First weeks at Post

October 20, 2007

I finally got my mail, one card from August 2nd.

I've been in my town for 17 days and its still weird. I don't know >1/2 of what anyone is saying to me. I live in a fenced area the size of a normal yard in town. There are about 10 houses (including mine) and about 30 people. I have 3 "moms", Amina, Tini & Hawa and 1 dad, Mati and a ton of little kids and babies that I don't know who goes with whom. I also live with goats, sheep and a loud cow, a mom chicken with a limp and her 20+chicks and a rooster that goes from 5:30a-7. There are about a thousand lizards in my concession who love to eat the trees my "uncle" Ali keeps planting for me. Now I cover it with my wash bucket when I leave my concession.

For the most part my days follow this pattern:

  • Wake up from prayer call 4am

  • wake up from rooster & women pounding(millet into flour) 5:30a

  • Get out of bed because people keep knocking and asking how I slept 6:30/7 make oatmeal (or eat granola bar now, thanks!)

  • read some English books 7-8a

  • Sit on mat in family's yard and talk to little kids or boy who's trying to learn English or go to doctor and sit and talk to the doctor and nurse who are trying to learn English 8:30-11/12

  • Come home eat,read,relax 12-2p

  • Go to my new Hausa tutor's house 2-?

  • Come home talk to family a bit go wash and relax and in bed by 7:30p.

The people in Niger never sleep and the women pound from 5:30-11P. The sun goes down around 7P & I lay in bed a lot but don't sleep much.

I walked to my market town alone last week & it was very scary. 2 hours wandering in sand and millet, but I got there. Once harvest season ends & the millet is gone, it will be all sand and way harder.

I generally walk to market but get an amalanke (ox cart) back because it is very hard & far and hot!

I talked on the radio in Mayahi with Allie Lachlan & Will about diarrhea & how to make salt/sugar/water to help the kids and it was scary. Men told us we sounded like little kids talking, but since I hate people hearing me, I was proud of myself. I would have never even talked on the radio in English, before.

I've only cried twice so far. The 2nd day here & today because I miss you all & your letters and packages were so nice.

July 27, 2007-1st letter home

I just got to Africa today and its very different. It doesn't feel like I'm across the ocean or on another continent, more like the begining of camp. We met some PCV's that have been here for a year andthy are all happy & love being here.
We are all staying at the Peace Corps camp tonight & tomorrow night and then Sunday we move in with our adoptive families who we'll be living with for all 3 months of training.
I don't know how much I'll like the training, but I'm excited to be sworn in and move to my village.
There are 3 groups of volunteers; the ed, municipal and health.
I'm sleeping under a mosquito net outside right now & its not too hot. We have showers & flush toilets here but won't when we move on Sunday.
We passed a bunch of villages on our way to Hamdallay for training & there are tons of cute little babies, so I'm really excited to get language over so we can actually do our jobs.
Some things I could use that I didn't bring are
coloring books, Chaco sandals
colored pencils/sharpeners
soccer balls
a head lamp
Some earings w/studs (b/c I found out we can wear them)
rubber bands-caus I lose them a lot

Traditional Costumes

Traditional Costumes
Our Adoptive mom dressed us

Me and Erin

Me and Kellie at Training facility

Pond that forms during Rainy Season

The Village