Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ready to Go

Well, it's finally my last day here in Kombo. Yesterday was the swearing-in ceremony at the Amassador's house, which is a beautiful house with a swimming pool and everything that has a great view of the beach. Here is a picture of me and my fellow Fulas, Josiah and Liza. The outfit I am wearing in the picture was made by my village tailor in Jiroff. I bought the fabric from a really nice lady who came and taught us how to make tie-die designs. We learned how to do this as one possibility of something we can teach women in our villages to do. Tie-die fabrics are very popular here, and may be a good way for women to generate some extra income. The ceremony was very nice and the food was unbelievable. I've never seen so much food here. I ate as much as I would at a typical thanksgiving meal. It was delicious. And then, to top off the day, a group of current volunteers gave us a cook-out in the evening... they grilled hamburgers and chicken, made guacamole (with home-made chips), salads, even cookies! I cannot even express how wonderful it was. Even after all the food we ate for lunch at the ceremony... I still managed to fill up a huge plate at the barbecue and go back for seconds too. Sorry to keep talking about all the food, but it really was amazing. Especially since it's going to be a really long time before I see anything like that again.
Tomorrow, we move back to our permanent sites and begin our "Three month challenge." The general idea behind the three month challenge is for us to all get to know our sites and communities as much as we can. The first three months are the most important for this, and volunteers may be tempted to spend most of their time with other volunteers instead of with their family and community members. So we are not supposed to spend the night away from our sites unless we have to. Luckily for me, Basse is only an hour ride by Gile Gile (public transport), so I can go for the day if I ever need something there. And one volunteer is only 10k away from me, so I can ride my bike to see her pretty easily if I need a break from village.

The trip tomorrow should be interesting. There is one vehicle transporting six of us, and all of our stuff. I have no idea how it's going to work, really. We have all done a lot of shopping here in Kombo. We have huge trunks, mattresses, and other random items like gas burning stoves. And to top it off, our vehicle is taking the south road, which is in really rough shape. We took the south road on our site visit trip and had to stop a few times because some of the things on top of the car fell off. My stop is the final stop, and we have over 445 km to cover before then. It should be fun (ha ha).
This may be the last time I have email access for a while now. I do plan on visiting Basse occasionally, but I'm not sure how often I will go there. Once I get set up at site and begin a routine, I will have a better idea. I am so tired of packing my things and moving around. It's all I've done since I've left the states (and even before then too... I made two round-trip moves in my car between Colorado and the East coast in five months before I moved to Africa). So this whole "three month challenge" really doesn't seem like much of a challenge to me right now. I can't wait to just stay put for a little while. Perhaps I'll feel differently in a month or two... but right now it just sounds wonderful to me.

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