Trip Start Jun 2008
Trip End Aug 2010

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Flag of Mauritania  ,
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hello everyone,
Alright!  Another exciting day!  We had a cultural fair today, and it was wild!  We sampled some more local food, like frozen hibiscus juice (a REAL treat), roasted peanuts and some sort of couscous/yogurt concoction.  We were all entertained by Wolof drummers and a moor wedding band.  Check out the videos!  I even had a chance to play my guitar with a few of the drummers (not in the video, sorry...) I also went out to the market and bought some fabric to have a new Boubou made.  It is going to be stylin'.  I will be sure to put up some pics when I get it back from the tailor.
We all just found out what language we will be learning for the next two years, and mine will be Hass‚nÓya, a dialect of Arabic.  I will be training right here in Rosso, which makes me want to think they will eventually be placing me in some sort of populated area, but none of us can really tell. We will all know our final sites on 21 July.  Hass‚nÓya is spoken all over the country, so I could end up in a regional capital, or I could end up in the middle of the Sahara.  Either one works for me....I am just ready to get started on my training.  And I don't have to wait long, as we are all heading out to our home stays in the morning. 
So, let me tell you all how this will all work.  Tomorrow Mike is to move in with his host family.  I literally will just have to walk down the street, whereas some of the other trainees are going to have to take a bush taxi some distance out over the sand to rural Mauritania.  I am really excited, as a number of the friends I made here will be training in Rosso as well, I already have a good feel for the town, and I am near the Senegal River (that means I get to eat fish!).  Every couple weeks we will all meet back here at the training center to receive language assessments, shots, briefing, etc, and then we will all head back out to our home stays for a few more weeks to continue with the language training.  On the 21st, I will know where I will be posted and will go to that town/city for a week, and then return to Rosso to finish my training.  If all goes according to the plan, I will be sworn in as a PC volunteer in late August!
It will not be easy by any means, but we are all in high spirits and ready for the challenge. I think the next two weeks will be the toughest, as the family I am going to live with only speaks Hass‚nÓya.  I, however, do not.  My plan is to learn fast, inshallah....
We are all leaving most of our stuff locked up in the Peace Corps training center, and I am going to leave my laptop here, but there is a cyber cafť just down the street, so I should be able to give you all a few updates.  If not, I will get back to you all in two weeks when we all reconvene here for a training session.
Maca assalaam,
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