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!!


Whitney said...

"in other news..." ahhah you make me laugh. even though i don't condone hitting children. maybe that's because we took a mandatory child abuse recognition course (being able to recognize signs of child abuse in our patients). we saw some horrrrible pictures. americans are just plain crazy. one story: parent dips crying infant in scalding hot water causing third degree burns on the bottoms of his feet...anyway i LOVE your stories (and the titles). sorry to be debbie downer. i MISS you so much but am pleased that you still manage to entertain me thousands of miles away.

Moffetown said...

You take a bath 3-4 times a day?? It's a miracle!! You were always the freak who hated showering, and would say: Do I need to shower? Me: Yes, you do. Marnie: but its hot outside anyways, and famous has so much smoke so what the point Me: Just shower, its gross! Marnie: Fine, but I'm going to drink a beer in the shower and play my radio. Haha, misty water colored memories of the way it was. I guess it is mandatory to shower in that crazy heat, or you'd be a hot mess. Speaking of hot mess, does anyone own roller blades in the village? Should I send you a pair? I also have to agree with Whitney that hitting a kid is just plain wrong. Then again, there are so many kids in brooklyn that I'm starting to find all kids annoying, especially ones that like Hannah Montana. Maybe I'll take your word for it. LOVE THE BLOG, and I promise to check it more often.

nadia.ayloush said...

You literally just described my hell. I don't think that the Ayloushes were built for African travel. I would be sweating constnatly. It would get in my food, it would splash on people while I talked to them, it would drip into my eyes and cause me to walk into things...just horrible. Anyways...it really doesn't shock me that you are down with beating children, and actually reading all of that really made me miss you. I have a package that is being prepared to send you...probably 6months too late. But better late than never!!

Marnie Florin said...

I LOVE ALL OF YOU! and you are all too funny, except for whitney. you truly are debbie downer.

Margaux said...

dude, kids in france are publicly punished with a little smack here and there...if its done appropriately it totally works. im proof!!