Trip Start Sep 08, 2006
24Trip End ??? ??, 2007
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These episodes of merriment aside, I am seriously in love with this place. I'm now settled into my house, the novelty of living by myself for the first time ever in my life has not yet worn off (although neither has my recurring disappointment each and every morning that my washing up has failed to disappear in the manner I have been accustomed to in previous lives - ex-housemates I appreciate you now more than ever).
I have finished my in-country training. The highlight unmentioned so far was traveling up country and meeting various high powered leaders ranging from the religious Imans to village chiefs to traditional healers.
Being a mere woman (hmph) I was only permitted to observe rather than engage in many of these meetings, but they were memorable nonetheless. Village life up-country is a complicated mesh of human relations, nothing is done without community consent and there are endless visible and invisible links between the various sources of local power.
My other unforgettable (if not finest) moment was being taken to my language teacher's compound to meet his family and see another side of life.
Onto other things, it's Ramadan in the Gambia at the moment. Due to the religious makeup of the country 90% of the population is currently fasting between dawn and dusk.
For those involved, this means that everyone appreciates the hunger and tiredness associated with getting up at 5am to eat before abstaining for the rest of the day and no one is expected to do much work in the afternoons. For the heathens like myself however it means any eating has to be done shamefully out of sight or else receive murderous looks from dozens of pairs of hungry eyes. It also means developing a quick reflex to avoid getting in the line of fire from people emptying their mouths of saliva (they take the "no liquids" rule pretty seriously here). Roll on the new moon.
Anyway here I must bid you adieu as I have only 15 mins remaining on this computer and that is how long it will take to send this email. I shall write again soon where if you are lucky I may even get around to actually mentioning the WORK I am in theory here to do...