Wednesday, April 11, 2007


REalizing that I never talked about my demyst experience, but feeling like it was so far away, about 3 weeks ago nowI'm just goign to briefly summarize so that when I eventually upload those photos, you can all see them. and understand the reference.

Rebecca and I stayed with Soo in a small village of roughly 700 people. The road there was so bumpy and potholed but the 11 of us PCTs crammed into the landrover kept ourselves entertained by telling horrible jokes and crazy stories. We spent a night on each end at the regional PCV house and that was great to see that part of PC life. Namely, that there is a shared apartment in each region that volunteers can meet at to plan projects, work on reports, or to just get away and see some friendly faces for a day or two.

The village was dry, hot, dusty and challenging, but we had an amazing experience. Soo was a great hostess and so patient with us asking zillions of questions about every detail of her life. We got to see her health club (composed of elementary school age kids) present a skit on Oral Rehydration Salts and the importance of hand washing for diarrhea prevention to the rest of the schoool. It was such great timing to see a volunteer in action.

The women in her village had a blast with us. Teaching us silly words like "bento" and basso meaning bench and mat respectively. it got to the point that they used that combo as a greeting when they saw us during those two days. It got endless giggles from us because you can just imagine someone learning english yelling "BENCH MAT! BENCH MAT" as a salutation.

They also knew the lyrics to "That's the way 'don din' 'don din' I like it" (with mandinka inserted instead of uh huh uh huh.) They constantly commanded us to dance for them which we gladly accepted adn loved to do. (laughing at the dancing toubab is a common pasttime no matter how integrated you are). I think it's great.

I realized on the Demyst trip that being rural really isn't all that bad. Soo was roughly an hour and a half bus ride from a nearby big town, but just off the road. Doable by bike for sure. Realizing how quickly I adapted to the bucket baths and the latrine lifestyle and sleeping outdoors gave me the confidence to start looking forward to my own post.

The lack of dietary variety was certainly a challenge. there were a couple meals where we were given just millet...which tastes like sand. that was hard, but it made the days when we got maffe (peanut sauce) so much better.
I'm sure a 3 day experience cannot compare to how it actually is to live like that long term, but there really is no preparation for that.
Certainly challenging was the noise! the donkey baying every hour or so, the sounds of crying kids. that was something to get used to. i had anticipated quiet in a rural village but it is quite the contrary.

i'm goign to post this just out of fear of the track record with trying to get this experience online. I realize its ridiculously delayed, but at least now it's up!!

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