Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dobong Kunda here I come.

So I would like to talk about my permanent site, Dobong Kunda. Training is finished and I head back to village soonish. I’m pretty excited to be able do what ever I wish now. No more schedules, no more waking up early, and no more supervision. The village itself is hard to explain for you peeps back home. Its a smaller village, with only about sixty compounds (living areas). Umm ya, I live in a round mud hut with a grass roof. We have two shops and a blacksmith in the village. Things are pretty basic there (no electricity or running water in my compound), the nice thing about my village though is that its only 3k away from Bansang, which has a fairly decent sized market and all the basic stores. The village people are pretty chill, my alkalo (mayor) fell asleep during my meeting with him.

My host family is awesome. My dad is a marabou, which is basically an African fortune teller. But he is not really a fortune teller, its more like its hard to explain but I guess you could say its like a Muslim mystic. Oh and he is awesome, he refused to let me pay for a mattress he gave me and will tell everyone he sees that I am his new son. The family is smaller which is nice because it means I will get to sleep in. He only has one wife and has two kids. One is a little two year old girl named Animata, who may be the cutest little child I have ever met. The other is my namesake, Alajie. He was born three days before I came to visit. The father also has about six students staying with him that he is teaching the Quran to.

Lets see language is going to be fun, very few people speak English in my village so I am going to have to get good and Mandinka. On top of that my family in particular is Jahanka so I will have to learn the finer points of that language (they are extremely similar). The one positive is that my work counterpart does speak English pretty well in addition to also knowing Spanish. So I will be able to communicate pretty well with him at the very least.

Already lined up a coaching gig at the local school in Bansang. They have a basketball court and one of the volunteers has already recruited me to help him out with his basketball  program thingy he has going. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this opportunity. I know it wont be coaching in any way, shape, or form like it is in America but its still teaching people basketball.

Life is great here, my village has so much open space to explore and work with. I live close to the river so I am hoping to take up fishing. I have a lot of support on any future projects and I am overall just really enjoying everyone I am surrounded by, both PC volunteers and Gambians.

The people here are amazing. They are incredibly hospitable and love to chill out. They will spend a half hour at a time greeting each other. This is so refreshing come from a culture where we refuse to even make eye contact with one another. Did I mention they like to chill out? Seriously I came to the right country. Its funny there is this thing called Gambia Maybe Time (GMT)...get it? Greenwich mean time....GMT....anyway the point is, if you say be there at five then you should expect people to start showing up around five thirty, five forty-five. People just come and go as they please. People don’t let time control the flow of their lives and I love it.

Well I am sure I could go on and on and on with the post but you would be bored out of your mind. There is so much to talk about so in the future, if you guys could maybe post comments asking me specific things you want me to post about it, that would be great. That way the blog will be less babbling and more pointed. Anyways I am off to take a nap. Peace out. Cheers. Salud. Foo Waatido.