Monday, August 30, 2010

Language Immersion

As I write this I am on the tail-end of language immersion. After my last post we were let off of stand fast on Monday morning and then sent to our language immersion sites Weds morning at 4 am! We took a 12 hour bus trip to another city away from the capital that I spent the majority of sleeping beside my friend Laura (Corey if you're reading this she is doing well). When we reached the bus stop we were driven to the hostel and hung out for a while hoping the rain storm that was coming down so hard on us would stop but our anticipation was to no avail. We finally gave in and loaded into the jeep. Approximately 14 of us in a 10 passenger car because that's how things are done here. Unfortunately, what should have been a 7k ride turned into a 45 minute ride because the road we would normally take had become a river. We did some pretty amazing off roading and finally arrived at our home for the next two weeks. The children of the village could not have been more excited to see us. There were approximately 50 kids no exaggeration that flooded into the concession. These children soon joined us on our tour of the village which included meeting the 93 year old man with 60 kids!!! That's right 60 SURVIVING children. I don't know what this man is doing or taking but some pharmecutical company needs to get over here and find out!! He goes by the title Sarki which in Hausa means King. Which means there are 60 princes and princesses in this little town. This was only the beginning of a very interesting experience. I was very lucky and Kimie one of my best friends here was on immersion with me and we were joined by two other amazing girls. Highlights of the trip included meeting our first Nigerien "little person", eating breakfast burritos!!, hanging out in the sarki's compound aka his castle, and just hanging out with amazing people. Some of the lower points of the trip were the 50 children who literally climbed the wall to see us, our 4 am wake up call, and the leaky roof. I want to expand upon the 4am wake up call because it probably sounds a little bad but trust me it was horrible!! It is Ramadan in Niger so everyone wakes up as early as possible to eat. Our neighbor in the village sold this fried dough every morning and for some reason found the boy with the highest pitch voice I have ever heard in my life to yell from 4 AM to 5 AM everyday. He would say wanki da maya 100 times in an hour. It took us five days to figure out that it was actually a human making the noise that's how bad it was. One major part about being here though is learning to roll with the punches so every morning at 4 we would all wake up and just laugh at the absurdity of it all. Then on one of our final days we held a meeting with the mayor near the mosque and happened to mention to the mayor that we weren't getting great sleep becuase of the gremlin that yelled every morning. Immediately everyone turned towards this little boy and laughed. Magically after that morning the yelling stopped. Oh my! I almost forgot the best part of immersion we did our first lesson on hand washing in Hausa. Sunday morning we taught about 20 kids the importance of washing your hands and covering your food. We used ash as soap since soap is a bit expensive here. It went so much better than could have been expected and really reminded me why I'm here. We're now only three weeks away from swear in on September 23rd which will mark the end of training and will mean I'm officially living alone. I'm scared but so excited. For now I'm spending the night speaking English again thank goodness and enjoying the comforts of the hostel which include running water and electricity!! We made a food run earlier and I almost burst into tears because they had those danish cookies you get in a tin that are so delicious I know that one reader out there knows exactly what I'm talking about they are so good with water which is great since that's my one choice here. Also they had pringles, grapes, and DIET COKE! My coke addiction is back. :)
Anywho, I better get going there is a pretty long line of people waiting to contact their families back home. Miss everyone!

PS My parents posted those pictures and wow.....where were you Sam when the editing was happening!

PPS Please forgive my spelling errors this computer thinks I'm writing in French so every word is mispelled.

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