April 27, 2009


Well, just a quick update. My brother's thermometer broke only three days after its first use because of the extreme heat. It is now stuck at 120. Kind of ironic, like how my spatula melted while I was cooking pancakes. I mean, it's made to work in the heat, no?

Also, it was 140 the day before yesterday.

April 21, 2009

Sweat and Me

Well it's unbelievably hot here. My brother's thermometer only goes up to 120, but it maxes out there every single day. I'm guessing the day before yesterday was over 130. And it's only getting hotter. But my body is adjusting really well, though, it's amazing! I woke up on my outside bed this morning, wrapped in my fleece blanket, and I was freezing and didn't want to get out of bed. It was 75 degrees.

But during the day it's still HOT. I've learned to just live in sweat. I take 3-4 baths a day (which is CRAZY! as I used to refuse to shower more than once a day in America). I change shirts pretty often, but not that often. I've learned that if you just leave a shirt in the sun for a couple hours its as good as new. Most days I just hang around in my compound, laying on the bantaba (shaded area in the 'yard') with my family.

It's not just me, though. ALL the Gambians constantly talk about how hot it is. In fact, the heat is mentioned in every single conversation I have, everyday, no matter who it is, no matter what is going on.

For example, when I see people while riding my bike home from the hospital, the usual dialogue goes:
Them: You are from the hospital?
Me: Yes.
Them: But, Mahana, the sun is very hot, no?
Me: Yes. Yes, it is.

Or if I meet someone new:
Them: Where are you from?
Me: I am from Bantanto
Them: AH, but Bantanto is too hot!
Me: Yes, Bantanto is hot.

In other news: I have become a HUGE advocate of child punishment. Because the vast majority of kids here are amazingly well mannered and hard working (basically the completely opposite of kids from America), the few that aren't really stand out and get on my nerves. Like my brother's daughter, Aminata. She's the kind of kid that cries just as hard if she really hurts herself as she does if someone tells her no or takes something back from her. It's really unnecessary.

So when I first got here, Kemeseng and Meeta, my brother and his wife, never hit or punished Aminata. But now they do and I love it. I'll watch Meeta tell her to give back a spoon or something, and Aminata will refuse. And Meeta will ask several more times, and still Aminata refuses (the way kids say no to something is by pulling their arms against their body and saying, "M bang!" which is really really rude). So Aminata does that and I know its over and think, "Ugh, finally," as Meeta hits her.

It's never overly hard or rough. It's always very appropriate, I think. But sometimes I remember that this sort of thing is not at all condoned in America, and it seems very weird. Why not? Well, I think a big reason it's not too bad here is that people don't drink alcohol, which contributes to a lot of excessive child abuse in America. So that helps a lot, and I can't imagine all the other problems that would arise if Gambians were drinkers. So I thank Allah, literally, that alcohol is prohibited.

Well that is all from me. I LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL!!

April 3, 2009


So this is a little walk-thru of my house:

This is a video of my 15-yr old sister Mamatida, who is SOOO strong carrying a FULL enormous bucket and pouring it out into a jibida:

Just a walk around town:

Bru-bru, which is the burning of stray hairs after braiding, I've had it done to my head a few times. The talking on it basically consists of me and Meeta (the one doing the burning) making fun of Dobally for being a wimp, and noting that even I put up with it better than her:

Pictures with the fam