Monday, August 6, 2007

Homestay Weeks 1-2

Andrew and I are back from the first two weeks of our homestay visit. We'll be at our training site for three days before we head back to our families.

We are living with the Kone (pronounced Cone-ay) family. My name is Mamine, or Maimouna, or Maimou, while Andrew is Umar or Umaru or Zan. The crazy thing is that everyone has the same name, and there are several different nicknames for each name. This makes things very confusing. I am one of four or five Mamines in my family alone! Our Bambara is coming along, but it's complicated by the fact that our village speaks a slightly different dialect and they aren't very informed on what we learn everyday, so it's hard for them to speak in a way that builds on what we learn each day.
Our house in Famana

The living conditions are okay, but it's hard to get used to not having electricity or running water. The most difficult thing for me is the food. Our family feeds us the best they can, which means rice. Every day. Almost every meal. It is gotten to the point where I can't even look at rice without feeling sick to my stomach. Our Language instructor finally spoke with our family and we have been getting different things now, like beans and spaghetti noodles. That helps, but I'm dying for some American food. That said, if anyone would like to send us hot chocolate packets, apple cider packets, parmesan cheese, cookies, candy, or other snacky foods, I will be eternally grateful, as well as full. :) It would be especially great since we got a huge pile of PC mail today, and Andrew and I didn't have a single piece of mail. I didn't realize that I was even looking forward to mail, but out here something as small and insignificant as a postcard makes my day after 13 days of living with people who don't understand a word I say. So in two weeks, when I return here again, I expect emails and actual mail! I'm excited about receiving HP7 which my grandma sent to me. Apparently packages only take about 2 weeks right now to get here.

Okay enough lecturing.

We went to the market the other day and bought 9 huge mangos for $0.25. And that was without trying to really barter. I also had a tailor make me a dress and a headscarf for $1. Andrew says to check out his Livejournal for more news.
Our little sister, Mamine

Okay, I need to go. I will try and email again in the next couple of days when there aren't 80 people waiting to use the computers as well.

Nicole aka Mamine

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