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It's Official! [Apr. 4th, 2005|09:03 am]
bintu
[mood |busybusy]

Plane tickets have been booked....I leave The Gambia on the 21st and hit Toronto on the 22nd.
Crazy!
Work continues to be insane, and I'm in the midst of a dreadful cold. It's going to be a busy couple weeks.

Some respite though, going to try and head north to Senegal on the weekend...apparently a lovely spot visited by Brett, Ruth and Nate a couple weeks ago. This will be my last chance to do a bit of sightseeing so I'm not going to miss out, cold or no!!

For everyone back in the Great White North, pray for some warm weather...anything under 20 will kill me :D
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21st century paranoia [Mar. 28th, 2005|07:49 pm]
bintu
[mood |gloomygloomy]

Further proof that the world has gone insane.

http://www.qsleeper.com/
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children... [Mar. 24th, 2005|05:42 pm]
bintu
[mood |okayokay]

Kids are funny here...
Reactions vary by age group to the 'toubab'. Little ones have a tendency to run screaming or burst into tears (theory goes that the only contact they've had with a toubab is when they're given shots/hospital visit sort of thing). There's one three year old in my compound who just howls in terror every time he sees me...the mother chuckles, the rest of the inevitable group of ladies standing around chuckle and I just shake my head. Others a little older than him have the opposite reaction and run screaming towards me, yelling 'hello' or 'toubab' at the top of their lungs.

Past a certain age the requests for 'minty' or 'pen' or 'money' take over and kids lose a bit of their charm. Some (as the one I had following me from work today) take the rejection in stride, and we had a nice conversation about his school, where I'm from, and the usual questions (although not so much from children!) about my marital status and how many kids I have. Others haven't taken the rejection quite so well and get rather adamant about being given something.

I've had some scary moments when 10-12 yr old boys get rather aggressive trying to prove their manliness or whatever...

There are sooo many children in this country that you have to deal with hordes of them on a daily basis. I've gotten much better at it (wasn't used to the company of children before I came here) but it's tough sometimes. I don't want to let the cheeky ones away with their poor behaviour and can be quite stern, but I don't want to cross the line of being the 'mean' toubab and further damage an already fragile (and in some cases I imagine justifiably negative) impression.

Hm, I have a lot of opinions on the topic, but no more time to ramble on...have to remind myself to write down my observations of parenting style/effects on children here.
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homecoming [Mar. 21st, 2005|05:46 pm]
bintu
[mood |lethargiclethargic]

Officially one month to go!!!

I'm aiming for the 21st of April...we'll see how arranging the flight works out tomorrow, but fingers crossed. I think in another month I will be sick of the wet season. It's already miserable out here and it's just going to get worse. I had forgotten how horrible the sensation of being sweaty all day (and night) just gets on your nerves...unidentifyable ailments abound, the littlest scratch takes a month to heal, and malaria mosquitoes peer at you from every corner of the room.
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How's everyone doing? [Mar. 21st, 2005|11:01 am]
bintu
[mood |okayokay]

Survive the crazy Irish holiday?? *chuckle*

I attended a St. Patty's Day celebration at the Kombo Beach Hotel...a somewhat inappropriate place to be sure, but the music was good, cheap draft beer (local Julbrew unfortunately, but the first draft beer I've had in this country!), Irish Stew, and some Irish expats descended upon the place in full (silly) get-up. Some dancing was attempted but ended rather quickly after the health and safety of the dancers, as well as the audience was considered.

I haven't been able to update this thing in a while...Collapse )
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Hades? [Mar. 16th, 2005|11:43 am]
bintu
[mood |thirstythirsty]

According to a weather forecast website, the hottest place on the planet today is in Kolda, Senegal...200 km away.

I could just cry.
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House from heaven....work week from hell. [Mar. 3rd, 2005|09:14 pm]
bintu
[mood |busybusy]
[music |The Best of Blondie!]

It's been a bizarre week, on one hand I've had the pleasure of the British High Commission luxuries, and on the other work has been absolutely horrid.

Working for the Gambian government is difficult to describe, a lot of undercurrents that I'm only now figuring out...but at the very least it's all about appearances rather than productivity, there's never enough resources, people are highly underpaid, and management styles leave a whole lot to be desired.

Continued rambling...Collapse )
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Supermarket Scandal [Feb. 28th, 2005|03:24 pm]
bintu
[mood |nauseatednauseated]

Two supermarkets (that I have frequented quite a few times) have been shut for the past couple weeks. Turns out that they have been selling lots of expired foodstuffs.

"...the goods were expired but labeling and sticker machines were used to label and stick new dates on the goods before they were displayed on sale again...the number (of items)is so large for collection that we have to take samples..."

Sigh.
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To Bamako and Beyond! [Feb. 28th, 2005|09:29 am]
bintu
[mood |contentcontent]

The proper response to the Wolof question "How's work?" is "I am on it, slowly slowly."
I think the same can be said for my write-up of Mali :)

I found a fabulous website with photos from Mali. Other than the photos of the Dogon dancers (which I didn't get a chance to see) it's all very familiar:

http://www.galenfrysinger.com/bamako.htm

Mali Part II...Bamako to MoptiCollapse )
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Escape from Bakau [Feb. 27th, 2005|12:03 am]
bintu
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]

Life will be much better for the next week...Jo and I are house-sitting for Brett and Zoe at the British High Commission!! Woohoo!!
Hot water, guaranteed power, proper mattresses, tv/dvd, microwave, pool, ocean view...I feel like a human again after a hot shower.

Unfortunately it meant that I had to say goodbye to Zoe and their year old son Max as she's going back to the UK to give birth to their second child...she won't be back until after I've gone home. I'm sorry to see her (and adorable Max) go :(
Their next posting is in Trinidad/Tobago starting in the fall, so maybe at some point I'll be able to grab a cheap flight down to see them both there...Max with a 'trini' accent will be hilarious!

Jo and I had some of the VSO girls over for dinner/movies...whipped up a huge feast complete with wine...a much needed treat for all.

Alas one week of luxury doesn't seem like enough. Soon I'll be back to my hovel wondering why my maid has stolen my light bulbs and leaving her cockroach carcasses as revenge.
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