Sunday, August 8, 2010
Never Have I Ever
I must say "Never have I ever" everyday. Africa is quite the adventure. I'm not sure what I posted last blog and the connection is so slow I can't go check so figure me for duplicating any information. As far as the geography turn on national geographic and look at Africa with it's huts and you have my life. I live in a round hut with a roommate and we sleep outside in our bug nuts. I'm finally starting to get used the noise when I'm falling asleep. Chickens have become the bane of my existence. Note to those city folks like me chickens don't just crow in the morning they crow all night long!! And goats which were so cute at first also make a horrible noise and eat everything. My host family is really nice and I'm so fortunate to have them. They are so patient with me and my language. I'm learning the native language of Hausa. We had our first exam this week and I placed novice high which meant I held a 15 minute conversation about my day and family. I was really pleased as I didn't even know what Hausa was four weeks ago. We don't have electricity or water so I am becoming very accustomed to bucket baths. My "bathroom" is millet stalk in a circle with a hole in the ground of a concrete slab. If I ever get faster internet I will post pictures. My typical day goes a little something like this. Wake up at 6am and go for a run through the millet fields or along the road. I love running in the morning because you get to see all the farmers on their way to work and they are all so nice. Nigeriens are some of the nicest people I have ever met. After my run I go to the market and get some breakfast normally yogurt from my favorite salesman who owns the orange store. He's very sweet and practices my Hausa greetings with me everyday. Then I head home. Heading home means walking about a quarter mile and the entire time hearing my name "Ramatou" yelled to me from the children of the village. Being American has made me a superstar. It's pretty amazing. I go home and take a quick bucket bath which is just as it sounds. I sit on a stool and dump cups of water over my head. Then I get dressed and walk out to the tree in my yard for class. There are two other girls in my class. We meet for language at 8:30. We are normally joined by my donkey, Sally. She loves to eat chalk. Depending on the day I'll sometimes head to the teacher's house for a technical session on Municipal Development or cultural class about Islam or other Nigerien traditions. At 12 I go back home and eat rice and sauce for lunch. Side note: If you're wondering, this is what I EAT every lunch and EVERY dinner. It's not amazing..let's just say I've lost 10 lbs. :) But my family gives what they can. After lunch I read a little and then go back to class until 5. At 5 I head to the market for my afternoon chat session with my friends and a cold coke. Coke is amazing and it seriously makes my day! Around 8 I eat dinner with my family and try to practice Hausa or read and by nine I'm hanging my bug net and making my bed. And soon I'm fast asleep. Two days a week we go up a hill to the PC site and we have community sessions with all 31 of us. I love everyone I'm here with. I'm so lucky. We are all very supportive of each other. These days we get to eat American-ish food and at lunch we get to watch DVDs! I LOVE IT! After training for the day is done we play sports. I'm co-sports chair which means I am supposed to plan tournaments...oops note to self do that tonight. I normally head down to the basketball court and play with some of the teachers. One of the guys played on the national team and is really good. Unfortunately, he only speaks French so when we are on the same team we have a hard time communicating. Anyone know the word for "pick or rebound" in French? I have seen some really amazing things already. Tuesday was Independence day and we got to plant trees at the school with our families and then went to a carnival. I use the word carnival very loosely. It was really just a couple games but a ton of fun. Tuesday, my village's market day I got to see a camel. They sometimes bring them in to sell or to just transport things. I will try and post the pictures. This weekend I came to the capital and I got to go the embassy and go swimming. It was so amazing. They have a cafe with American food so I got to eat a hamburger and fries. So good! It was strange I forgot I was even in Niger while I was there. We took a bush taxi here which is always interesting. It's essentially a van packed full of people. I neogiated my first purchase today and bought two yards of linen. It's a little stressful especially with my limited language but I got a really good price. I can't think of all the questions you guys might have so please post away. I have to go now otherwise I won't be home before dark. I MISS EVERYONE!! Please write letters. It makes my day when I get mail and I promise to write back.