Site Visit

Trip Start Dec 01, 2007
Trip End Mar 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Kissi hotel

Flag of Guinea  ,
Monday, January 21, 2008

First of all, my mother has kindly pointed out that I have a lot of typos in my blog. I apologize.  I'm trying to type quickly so others can use the computer/I'm typing on a French keyboard and don't know where the keys are.  I will try to do better but bear with me. Having said that, this is something I wrote while at my site visit.  So it's old but I wanted everyone to get a perspective of what I was thinking at the time.
What can I say about my first 2 days at site. First I must say my counterpart is by far the best. She is amazing and I think I would have cried a lot without her.  Zach, Sarah and I with our counterparts took our first bush taxi ride to Kissidougou, though we dropped Sarah off after only 5 hours.  We were crammed into a small 5 passenger car, 7 of us, 4 of us in the back.  I sat between Sarah and Zach so my ride was actually quite comfortable.  I had to stay in Kissidougou for the night because no taxis were leaving.  The town shut down to watch the first game of the African Cup- Ghana v. Guinea.  Therese, my counterpart, bought Syli National (the name of the Guinean soccer team, it means National Elephant) earrings and necklace for me.  Despite my support, Guinea lost 2-1.  But seriously, when Guinea scored that one point I thought the country was about to come down.  Kissidougou erupted in cheers! My counterpart, a grown woman, stood up, ran outside screaming and whooping and ran around the house cheering.  It was awesome!
             For dinner, Zach and I had chicken and french fries which we downed with a fanta.  It was so good.  Therese watched me at the counterpart workshop and saw that I refused to eat rice and sauce so she never tried to feed it to me, even though it's staple Guinean food. I love her.  I stayed that night in the Kissi hotel, which was quite nice with no mice or bed bugs.  This morning I met Monsieur le DPS (Directeur Prefectorial de la Santé).  He's important so I gave him kola nuts and said a bunch of thank yous over and over.  Then it was time to go to my village.  Therese found me a taxi.  I waited for the taxi to leave for about an hour and a half during which I was surrounded by Guinean men.  An old man came up to the group that was talking to me and said "She is my wife", in French of course.  And I looked at him and said, "I'm your wife?" "Yes" he replied. "Ok," I said and stuck out my hand, "Give me money." The whole group of men erupted into laughter and told him he needed to give me money because Guinean wives do not have money, the husband must give it to them.  He shook his head, turned around and walked away.  Next a younger man told me he wanted to marry a white woman but it was impossible.  I said nothing is impossible, dear friend, here's what you have to do.  Never say the words "Woman's work" to a white woman.  If you want to marry a white woman you need to change your thinking on that point.  You must do all the cooking, clothes washing, house cleaning, etc.  Then you can marry a white woman.  He looked at me and said, "Like I said, impossible."  The time arrived to depart.  I was shoved into the taxi with 11 people.  A five person car with 11 people.  5 in front, 6 in back myself included.  The doors wouldn't shut and the needed a push before it would start.  But what could I do?  It was the only car going to Gbangbadou.  And let's leave it at that I made it safely.  The rest would only worry.
             But wow, Gbangbadou is rustic but the people seem very excited to have me.  I got to see my little round mud hut.  It's not finished yet so I'm staying at my counterpart's house.  My hut is one room and very, very small.  My hole in the ground which some like to call a toilet and/or shower is out back and will be bricked in.  The bathroom I'm currently using is covered with leaves and I must say I'm not impressed by the coverage, or lack thereof.  It appears I will have enough land to have a garden and some chickens.  And the Malinke that I'm supposed to learn just isn't going to happen.  Everyone here has told me I need to learn Kissi.  So that will be fun...any English/Kissi or French/Kissi dictionaries out there?
One last note, the forest food is awesome. And they have pigs!! I think I'm going to be very content here.
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