Monday, November 19, 2007

picture update

I have made through my three month challenge, and I am back in Kombo, once again, for several events. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, Friday is the 40th anniversary of Peace Corps in The Gambia, and Saturday is an all volunteer meeting... so I took the week from school and made my way down country. Now that I have faster internet, I can acutally post some pictures...
The first picture is a picture of my home. It is a one-room, round, mud-hut with a thatched roof. The thatched hut keeps my home much cooler than homes with a corrogated tin roof, like what I had in training village. On the left, you may notice an old tire (It looks to be below that large Mango tree)... that is the open well in my compound. I am going to plant a garden there soon, so it will be nice to have a well right next to my garden for watering purposes. I also use that water for bathing and cooking. The drinking water I use though, comes from another well.

And here's what the Gambia River looks like when you get up-country. It's much narrower here, and the river is freshwater. Down-country, the river is much larger and saltwater.

I am also posting some pictures of my family. One of the pictures is from Koriteh, or the "Day of Prayer." This is the 30th day of the Muslim holiday, Ramadan. The Muslims fast for 29 days (no food or water from sunrise to sunset), and then feast on the Day of Prayer. Everyone gets dressed up in new clothes with new hairstyles and everything. As you can see from the picture, even I have on an African dress and I let my "siter-in-law," Susana, plait my hair. It was definitely fun to see the whole village celbrating. The children in the picture are Mariama, Bobo, an Ousman.

The next picture was also during Ramadan. Since the Muslims fast all day, they feast every night. On this night, they were just about to break fast, so we had a ton of delicious food to eat (they go all-out for the breaking fast meals), and we were hit with a tremedous thunderstorm. Since we usually eat outside (we do everything outside except for sleeping, really), we moved our meal into my familie's hut... all eight of us. After eating, we were just hanging out because the rain was really strong. For some reason, I found the whole situation hilarious (I often find humor in situations that are perfectly normal to the Gambians), and decided to take a bunch of pictures. I wish I had time to post all of them... they ended up getting pretty silly. This one shows Amin (my sister), Ousman ( Samba's son), and Bobo Kole (Amin's daughter).

And here are some pictures of my school and my students.

This is a picture of the outside of my classroom. The school consists of a number of different buildings, or "blocks" instead of one building with many rooms, like in the states. I'm sure that air circulation has much to do with this. Without windows, it would be impossible to teach or learn in these rooms. It's hard enough as it is. Notice the goat hanging out outside of the classroom. The school has over 40 goats right now.

My grade 12 students. They are a great crew of kids.

Here are my grade 11 students... and this is what the inside of my classroom looks like... it's really much nicer than I expected to have. In fact, I never expected to have my own classroom at all, so this has been a wonderful surprise.
And yes, I did celebrate Holloween... here is the pumpkin to prove it! From left to right... Mariama and Umo (although we call her Bobo Kole... Gambians aften have multiple names, which gets confusing when you're trying to learn a bunch of new names). Mariama and Bobo are Amin's daughers (Amin is my sister here, so by American standards, they would be considered my neices, but in the Gambia, your mother's sisters are also your mothers, so here they are my daughters, I guess... it gets confusing). The the woman on the right is Susana (her other name is Fanta, just like the drink). Susana is Samba's wife (my brother).
Well... that's it for now, I hope you like the pictures!

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