Wednesday, August 11, 2010

your questions...answered

i must say, i did not get as many as my friend did. maybe my beloved mama really IS the only one who reads this thing. hi mom! hi spammers! also i got some sassy facebook questions from my friends who are currently in the Gam, which means they are null and void (and i have some sassy friends). but enough with the intro...

Q. have you been eating meat? if so, is it as terrible as you thought it would be?

A. yes, i've been eating chicken and fish. and someone gave me lizard once. it was a sneak attack, they told me it was a bowl of beans. monitor lizard is not delicious. very stringy. i've been able to avoid beef and pork because people just don't have that here, or if they do they're above my income scale. on holidays, i have on occasion eaten goat or sheep (ram,mostly). that is difficult, the parts i get are really rubbery and it's a huge honor. plus they expect you to watch the sacrifice and subsequent gutting. it's pretty hard to swallow, on every level. i managed to miss the major sacrifice last major holiday, but the ram was in our compound for a few days before and the kids really enjoyed petting and playing with it. they also really enjoyed eating it. and blair, i don't think i could regret crazy burger. it's a great memory now.

Q. would you like me to send you one of those Honey BBQ fritos twists snacks you would always get?

A. heck yes. there's nothing like the real thing.

Q. how has your hip been holding up now that it's the rainy season?

A. my hip has been doing very well. i think all my leg muscles are becoming very strong because i walk 10-20 km on the beach each week doing turtle surveys. i am very sore the next day, but my hip doesn't hurt worse than anywhere else. AND there are basically no stairs or hills here so it's getting a nice break from those, which really disturbed it. by the way, miss blair, how is your ankle? any thoughts on a triumphant rugby return?

Q. when are you getting back and are you up for a reunion?

A. i'm scheduled to come back january 2012. i can't give an exact date because there's been talk of travelling on the way back (some people even take a cruise back and avoid that terrible long plane ride. apparently it also helps with the transition back to the "western" world). i am up for many reunions, and i really, really want to see california. ahem. or oregon.

Q. what's it like to poop in a hole everyday? (this question was asked by a fellow volunteer, but in case you're curious...)

A. fantastic. you never have to clean it.

Q. how many bathrooms does your compound have? (also from another volunteer)

A. this question is funny because outside of the lodges there are no flush toilets for miles. but if you're wondering about the basic family bathroom situation, my compound is pretty typical. they have fenced bathing areas behind each of the 3 bedrooms where all 13 of them bathe, and also urinate. to do your business, there's a family pit latrine in the far back of the backyard, with corrugate around to provide protection.

Q. what is your favorite part of the day?

A. this is a really difficult question, partially because i have many "favorite" moments of every day, and partially because every day is so different. i work on many different projects and they all demand i have a different schedule. but i really enjoy the late evening, when the sun is setting. everyone is getting their baths and they're all clean (for maybe 5 minutes) and we all sit on the porch on our mats together and wait for dinner. sometimes we play games or sing songs, sometimes we just talk. i always go home for dinner so i can get that quality family time.

Q. what's the best advice you have gotten since you've been in the Gambia?

A. this was a really difficult one to answer, because i get advice on EVERYTHING here. peace corps training broke down every tiny aspect of my life and advised me on how to live it. but i think the best advice i've gotten is relax. remember to relax.
because you can't control a damn thing that happens to you here, so you might as well go with it.


  1. love and miss you Casey. Love hearing what you are up to.