Oct 13, 1995


OK so I haven't written ANYONE in FOREVER!!! I am sorry. It just means that I have adjusted to my life here. I mean when I first got here I was lonely and miserable and stuff. Now, this is my home. I am in a pattern and it is hard to write. I mean I got lots of people to write and you each pretty much just have one! However, starting next month, I think I will be writing more.

What can I tell you?

My new site mate has been with me a month. He is OK, but has already got dysentery from drinking out of an open well. That is something I try not to do!
Anyways his name is Jeremy and he just turned 21 last month. YOUNG huh? They call him Kono bah which means large stomach. He doesn't mind.

Every Wednesday we go to Farafini clinic. We go with a group of nurses out to poor villages where we give pre-natal care, weigh and record babies, give immunizations, and treat the sick. Basically Jeremy and I just weigh, record, and figure out what shots are needed. We enjoy it a lot.

Abhijit has a new site mate in Farafini named Carrie. We all get together twice a week. We cook stir-fry and go to the movies. There is a large outdoor theatre where they show kick boxing and Indian (Hindi) movies. Sometimes there are no subtitles and Abhijit has to translate the entire movie! (But I don't think he minds.)

The head of our Agro forestry division is having a West African training session here. there will be APCD's and volunteers from 9 west African countries. Of course they will be coming to Illiasa because supposedly I run the only Environmental Education Center in The Gambia. So.. I am having a meeting with Jeremy, my headmaster, and my counterpart to figure out what the heck we are going to do. It will be in December and we got tons to do. Jeremy is going to help the garden master whip the garden into shape and we will probably paint murals on the walls or something. I'll tell ya more as it develops.

I just got packages from mom and grandma. Awesome! Thank you! I love everything I'm getting. And a little while ago I got the package from dad with the flashcards and the Crystal Light and lots of other stuff. And Martha sent me some dance music and pencils! You guys are all keeping me well stocked! Thanks everyone! It really makes my month! I feel bad for Peggy. I asked her to develop a roll f film for me with doubles and she did. When I got the pictures they were all of my family and the garden. They must have been SO boring for her! Sorry Peggy! But I totally appreciate the favor!!!

I am planning to make a video at Thanksgiving time. I will try and mail it home around Christmas. It may have to be transferred to the American system. I am going to mail it to Robb so contact him if you want to see it. I am excited to make it.

My health has been all right. I had stomach problems for 2 weeks and then I got the flu. I also have a skin virus. I think it lasts for 2 years or something. Yuck. but I still look normal.

My cat Lamin died. Leaving me 4 kittens. Only one is still alive. I gave it to another volunteer. I named it Nicki. I hope she is OK. Also Poopsy just gave birth to 5. I love them all and I plan on keeping them all. Talk about the patter of little feet! I haven't named them yet. I will do that tomorrow. (Right now I am in Kombo. I am leaving for Illiasa this afternoon.)

Oh, I filled my photo album! I want to mail it home but I am afraid it would get lost in the mail and that is something I couldn't really replace. So I will have to wait another year and bring it with me. I am out of film anyways.

Jean is going home in January for her sisterís wedding. I am so jealous. I really want to come home but can't yet, I still have too much to do. Plus I am trying to set things up for when I come home. I want everything as set as possible. I also got to but souvenirs, visit Dakar, make the video... can't leave yet! AND I think I am going to Guinea Bissau for Mardi Gras. That should be cool! My other traveling plan is a maybe. Abhijit's parents. sister, aunt, and cousin are all coming for Christmas. They will either come here or vacation in Mali or Ghana. Abhijit and I may join them. It is all a bunch of maybes at this point. But still, it is exciting.

The rains are about done. It used to rain about 4 times a week, now, once every other week. I am going to miss it! I can't wait until December, January when we get cold! (50 degrees at night). It will be nice not to sweat.

I saw the OJ verdict on TV. VERY suspenseful. Also, Jean is having her mom send her "Pulp Fiction". So I am keeping up (kinda) with the culture back home.

Abhijit and I went with this Norwegian girl named Tuena to a small village on the ocean. We had a beautiful time. Swimming, playing cards on the deserted beach, eating omelettes and french fries. Of course I had the flu hose days but it was lovely. I didn't get any picture though (well 2). I ran out of film! We may have a party in November.

That is all the major stuff for now. I am going to site and I will write more there. I hope everyone is healthy, misses me, and sends me good stuff! (Just teasing!)

I love you!

Oct 13, 1995

Oh my! How are you!? It's Friday the 13th 8:30am. Yuck! I got up at 7am to call Abhijit and all the phones suck. SO I am sitting in a Bush Taxi waiting to go all the way there to relay a simple message.
Here's the deal. I just got to Illiasa yesterday morning. And I find out my "mother" in my compound has given birth. They name the babies one week after birth (tomorrow). AND they're naming the little girl after me. So now I've got financial obligations. I gotta buy the first wardrobe. Plus soap, powder, and cash. And Abhijit has got to come. But I can't call him to tell him so here I go! Tomorrow there will be a party ALL DAY. I mean until 6 am Sunday. They really party. And I'm broke. I wasn't expecting this expense! I have nothing. I'm borrowing like crazy! I couldn't even contribute money towards a goat! Sucks.

Last night was a huge storm (and the night before). My fences is history! Gotta buy a new one! Ahh!! I also bought a table, chair, and shelf. My house is finally decent & now the yard sucks. Andy I only have one cat!(my life... sad isn't it?)

I'm still with Abhijit (duh) But I plan to return to Cleveland single. I gotta be on my own for a while! I'm still working on my business and can't wait to get home and get started.

How's Barry? Set a date yet? How corny. You'll be able to tell people you married your high-school sweetheart! Well, looks like my taxi is about to move. I'll finish later. ( Not that I have much to say). I think about home a lot and wonder if I'll make it another year. What keeps me here is I have nothing (no job) back home. I can't return until I'm organized. I'm still writing letters about my business and I may try and get substituting jobs. But these moths should move fast. Halloween, Thanksgiving, X-mas, Mardi Gras, Abhijit's family coming. Time should fly if only I wasn't so poor!

I love you sister,
Keep writin!

1996 Journals

September 1995

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