Published: September 21st 2008September 20th 2008
Frequently on my porch hanging out, seen here with my solar charger.
Hanging out in Guinea for more than 9 months now. Things are going relatively well, I'm still healthy, and Ramadan
is almost over (alhamdulilah!)
Last Saturday I took a taxi directly from my village to the town of Kissidougou
. The ride ended up being 19 hours. We broke down a couple times, and had to stop to break the fast at sunset. But even then it shouldn't have taken that long. When I take trips like that, I begin to realize why everyone in the US thinks I'm crazy for being here. But that's how things are here. I made a lot of friends in the taxi. It really wasn't that bad except that whenever I started falling asleep the driver would yell and ask me why I wasn't sleeping.
Anyway, I went to Kissidougou to visit my friend Jess who lives in a village about 15 km away. We stayed out there for a couple days in her tiny hut and actually got a lot accomplished. She made me play with dirt most of the time (read: I tried to help re-plant some trees). We harvested some Moringa
leaves, dried them in a solar drier, and then pounded
Reached for the toilet paper in the bucket and noticecd the bucket was softer than usual ... came back with a light to discover one of my new housemates. (He has a wife too, and a new baby.)
them into a powder. We then set up a table in the market and gave out the powder to mothers to put into their meals that night. Very productive couple of days for me.
That Wednesday we headed back to Kissidougou where Jess got into a taxi for Mamou, and I headed to the airport. Yes you read that right. I took a free
flight from Kissidougou to Conakry. What would have been a maybe 15 hour trip was only an hour. It was amazing.
Being in a completely different part of the country made me realize some things about my own village. For one, it's extremely conservative. All women (including me) wear skirts, and they should be touching your feet, otherwise they're too short. Second, they're extremely religious. Elementary school-aged children can't really speak French, but they can recite verses from the Qu'ran. Third, the education level in my village is atrocious. I thought that it was normal throughout Guinea for children in middle school to not be able to speak French very well, if at all. I thought that finding a woman who could speak French was a rarity. Turns out that it's pretty much just
The new volunteers were visiting their villages for the first time and everyone (seven people total) ended up spending the night in my house.
my village. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, I learned that Peuhls
are everywhere, and you can usually spot them because they're always wearing hats. :)
I've been in Conakry since then, eating lots of good food and hanging out with some other volunteers. Work-wise, I'm been spending my time on a computer, ::gasp:: editing a proposal to get the elementary school in the village renovated. But you'll all hear about that later when I'm asking you for money. :)
I'm headed back to my village in the morning. It should take a minimum of 12 hours. This doesn't include the time I'll be spending waiting for the taxi to leave. Should be lots of fun.
I don't know if I'll have internet access again until Halloween. So hope everyone is well until then. Go have a milkshake for me, and remember to VOTE!
Mail news: I got two
packages from my Dad this month, and a letter from Nina. Last month I got a package from Nina and a letter from Josh. You three are wonderful and keep me happy and fed. Thank you soooo much! Getting the mail is the highlight of my
Doing the Dishes
My friend Jess cleaning up in her hut.
month, all because of you. :)
There are more photos below