Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Life, all the time
Laundry list of current projects: get everything backed up again on external hard drive, as crashes here are too easily catastrophic in nature; do improvements of solar installation at home; pursue funding for solar at one of my schools; host a trainee in Fara Fenni on volunteer visit; fix "gutters" on my house; it goes on, but it isn't very interesting. It just strikes me as a list that I can live with. It's more the person who I want to be than I ever may have been. That's why I love this place, this job. I don't get paid much, I deal with a lot of different challenges, haven't seen my friends and family in a long time, but I have a good list of things to do. And a tropical lagoon of chances, choices and opportunities, adventures and catastrophes in which to do it. How could I not love it?
My health is getting better again. I took my sweet time bouncing back with the heat and rains and my immune system needs the humidity to go away eventually, but I have started feeling stronger of late, and think that getting back to exercising is going to keep me on the right track. Last week I biked to Kaur, about 37 km, and played basketball with my pal who lives there. I biked back the next morning, and was tired, but happy about the condition I was in, and since then I've been glad to keep feeling better. It's not quite training for a triathalon, but it's a start and I don't need to go crazy here.
Last night we even went out dancing - Woman, some other friends and I. She's down here working for the Gambia College, doing training with me, generally kicking ass, and writing about it at the link to the right. And putting up lots of photos on flickr, she's so cool that I'm giving her a shout out, so go read that too... You know, when you have time and stuff.
I think I violate a major principle of writing when starting off a paragraph with one sentence, and then redirecting the paragraph to actually be about something else completely. I also never finished that response about the people I meet here. My fellow PCVs - the Peace Corps, like too many government organizations, is overfond of letter soup - are a good but mixed bunch. Some are just out of college, here for an array of reasons with the occasional "didn't know what else to do" and the "think it will look good on my resume", plus the "loved travelling, wanted to live abroad", etc. Then there are a big-ish group of us who worked for some amount of time before coming here, and generally want some sort of change in our lives. Whether from a dead-end type job or into a new path, or whatever. These are the people I tend to find the most interesting, the most with commonalities. Is that a word? There are a couple of post-mid-life-crisis, or maybe having-late-mid-life-crisis volunteers as well, just as a note of completeness.
Other foreign nationals who I know here tend to be working on projects for foreign companies, either on the road construction or resort something, or working for Non Governmental Organizations. The true rulers of our fair Babylon. Gambia is impacted by NGOs more than any country I've heard of, but that is probably mostly due to its small size and official language. So, NGO workers have a pretty good set-up for the most part, and jobs for locals working with them are coveted. I could rant about this for a long time.
I have a couple of friends in Farafenni who don't work for NGOs, though. They work for two companies that do the road building, and aren't so happy to be here, in the Gambia. To them, it's an undeveloped mess, with no electricity or decent television/internet/food/entertainment/etc. But, they get paid well enough, don't have much in the way of expenses in town, and they stick it out. One of them is South African, the other is Lebanese. He is a really cool guy, speaks English, Arabic, French, and told me that he understands what Israel is doing in his country. I know too little of the details, don't understand the dynamics and details of the situation, but it frustrates and saddens me that it is happening. It makes me glad to have the excuse to bury my head in the sand, and sad when I see the news. I feel a responsibility as a citizen of the world to know what goes on, most of the time, but here I'm able to escape that and it certainly is a blessing. Bad news and the world falling apart is older than the various media to report it, but it's still no fun.
Enough of this for now. I'm around for a few more days, and hope to come back with some photos.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
From Fara Fenni
Now I'm in my town, doing my thing, and rushing around like I still live in New York. Can anyone help me???