4th of July

Trip Start Jun 2008
Trip End Aug 2010

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Flag of Mauritania  ,
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm back......
Well, I made it through the first week in homestay and feel preety good.  I feel a bit lighter, but I am starting to get a handle on the heat and feel healthy, which is better than what can be said for some of my counterparts....  Nothing serious, but here and there trainees are comming down with food poisoning or infections or heat stroke, etc.  Let's just hope the Jaruszewicz peasant stock will keep me in good form. 
We are all trucking along with our respective languages, and I can now form sentences!  Sidi has proven to be a great teacher.  Our group really lucked out.   We all had a devil of a good time on the 4th of July.  All the trainees met up and had camel burgers and played Ultimate Frisbee, as any Americans would on the 4th of July in North Africa....

Let's see, what else.  Ahh, a few nights ago, I stopped by a Wolof wedding, which was like culture overload.  Picture a lot of drum-bassed music, bright colors, and some serious dancing.  I kindly departed before they had the chance to make me dance and found out there was a Mauritanian rap concert taking place the block over from my house.... nothing is really advertised here.  I am pretty sure if you want to have a party here, you just set up, play your music as loud as possible and wait for people to show up, which they always do. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of any of this, as I am still not entirely sure as to what is and what is not approptiate to film, but rest assured it was all quite an experience.

I did, however, take some photos of the outskirts of town.  We started walking East, past the town limits into the Sahel (with plenty of water).  We passed by what seemed to be the offical city dump, a large rice field and then a number of small villages.  We circled around and came across a tributary of the Senegal River and what will soom be the city's first and the country's second university.  We then worked our way back to town, passing by the soccer stadium, which we learned has games everynight and free admission!  A few liters of water and 10 or 15 km later, we were back in town.

Ahah!      I almost forgot to tell you about my first dust storm!.......so there I was, we had finished up class, and I went off to one of the gardens the agroforestry volunteers were working on to help out.  About 30 minutes go by and we realized the sky was getting darker Northwest of us.  In fact, it was pitch black.  As I was about a 30 minute walk home, I sent my regards and started working myself back at a steady pace.  My pace, however, increased when I realized the storm was moving much faster than myself.  By the time I was15 minutes from home, everything was pitch black, the wind was blowing about 40-50 mph and sand was entering every creavace of my person.  I decided it best to wrap my howley around my face and  to sprint through the darkness in the direction I thought was right.  My crackerjack sense of direction served me well and I no sooner entered our house than the dust storm developed into a torrential downpour, lasting the rest of the evening.  Ahhh.  Life in Mauritania.
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