Wednesday, March 10, 2010

you better believe i'm tan.

against my best efforts (sunscreen, sleeves, hats, avoiding the sun) i am a toasty brown (at least for me, being so fair-skinned). people in my village joke that soon i will look like one of them, and be a lovely chocolate color. i'm not sure about that. i'm still holding back.also, due to the culture here (lenient muslim, i suppose) i am actually only tan from my mid-calves down, on my arms, and my face. the rest of me never sees the sun.
international women's day went reasonably well, we actually had to do our activities the day after because monday was commonwealth day also, which included traditional dress, girls with candy braided into their hair, and a parade. the parade went to the military camp, where the commander treated us to a speech about student-on-teacher violence and teenage pregnancy. in celebration of the commonwealth, i guess. it was a great day though, and there was dancing in the afternoon. "traditional dancing" here is fun to watch and imitate, but it's a little awkward because everyone wants to see what the white girl is going to do. yeesh. it's worth it, though, to see what everyone else does. they get really into it. i love how they try and one-up each other. it's all a dance-off.
today i went to most of the upper school classes to talk about a tree nursery competition the school is participating in. the teacher i am working with is a little overenthusiastic (a problem i prefer to the alternative) and is having trouble letting the students take control of the nursery. he really wants to win, i guess. i just want to make sure the students learn how to raise trees. i really like this competition because it gives me lots of chances to talk about how important trees are, something you can't do enough here. as it gets hotter, there are more and more bush fires in my area. we passed 4 on the way here. it's such a sad site, and there's no real fire department to take care of it. people lose their farms and homes all the time.
the solution is firebreaks, but people are reluctant to build those, and often do not get around to it until later in the hot season. i suppose bush fires have been going on so long here they are almost viewed as inevitable, the way people see floods and tornados. hopefully they can be educated and encouraged otherwise. it's a long process. i know people know about firebreaks, but getting them to make them is another story.
so i am busy busy, when i'm not working i'm sitting around complaining about how hot it is. it's getting hotter, and i feel completely justified in complaining simply because i'm doing it with gambians. if the host country nationals say it's too hot, it's too hot. it's nice to commiserate. my mandinka is far from advanced, but my weather-based complaints are excellent.
while we're on the topic, i've been making a list of things i thought needed to be refridgerated before i came here. here's a brief version
1)eggs (cooked or raw)
7)leftover food from meals

i can't believe people here don't have all sorts of bacterial infections. or maybe they do...
anyways, i have some emails to reply to. i've hooked up with this NGO that does some really great work, but the majority of people there have computers and want me to be keeping in touch with them via email. it's not an option for me, so i have to cram before each of our meetings. my brain is a little fried, but at least they get stuff done.
fo waati do (till another time)

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