Sunday, April 1, 2007

Pulaar, Internet, Illness, cell phones, and the like

So much to write.
I have still not written about my demystification weekend because the third time i tried the power went out. perhaps it is just not meant to be. I would much rather concentrate my efforts on writing about our first intensive week of training.

I am still adoring my host family. I really do look forward to going home so that i can spend more time with them . My french has improved phenomenally in the last week alone and i find comfort in the fact that it has returned so quickly and strongly (not that it was ever gone anyway, just put away for awhile).

Learning Pulaar du Nord has been an incredible challenge. Having learned french so early and then spanish being so closely related, this is the first time that i have ever struggled to learn a language. i find that i am instantly frustrated with myself when I dont understand right away. In my end of the first week language eval Sahir my Pulaar teacher commented that I need to be more patient with myself, that Im doing great, but I need to not be so hard on myself. He is right, but it is hard to be patient when we are all hyper aware of the fact that our quality of life at our sites will be directly correlated with the level of our language.

I had my first breakdown in language class the other day. I cried for no reason. mere frustration i supppose. I'm told that that is common and there are certainly other stagieres (trainees) who have had the same thing happen. its pretty much inevitable really.

I am learning how to keep myself healthy. since i have moved in with my host fmily a week ago i have dealt with some GI issues and now have been battlig a head cold that put me in sick bay with a fever last week. Nothing that wouldnt go away in a few days at home, but because the conditions are so hot and dry here and my diet has been so drastically altered, my immune system is renavigating.
Im sure that part of it comes from shared meals that we eat with our hands all together. Typically at dinner, my dad eats alone and the women and children adn i all eat from one huge bowl. I love the community aspect of it, but i know that it is the reason for my constant cold. Because i am a guest, i am constantly passed pieces of the vegetables and meat that sit in the middle of the bowl (children are not allowed to reach into the middle. it is up to the adults to pass the middle pieces to them), that means that there are many hands handling my food before i eat it. I am working up the nerve to insist that we all wash our hands with soap before we eat. i have been partly successful and will wash my own hands in front of everyone everytime. I think that i will start to insist and pull the "volontiere de sante" card.

I do have a cell phone now. It is very exciting. Email me if you want the number because i cannot post it online.
I'm going to post this for fear of a regular power outage. READ ON!!

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