NEW POST SUMMARY
- New name!
- New survival skills
- New arrivals to the Gambia
- New Bacteria to the digestive track
January 20, 2009
11:27pm – to the sounds of Gambia Radio and Crickets
As there are now two Michaels on the compound the compound has assigned Gambian names. Mine has traditionally been Dudu (not by choice). Although a very noble name in Mandinka (great one), the name Dudu in Fulani means “un-hatched spoiled egg” (…and well you know what it means in English)
Never the less it stands - uncle Dudu (they might as well have a naming ceremony)
January 21, 2009
1:53pm – to the heat of the African Day
So a little bit of catch-up to do today…. :o)
As of Saturday we planned to start the garden on Monday. But this is Africa and well on Sunday at church a brief announcement about a naming ceremony to be held on Monday from 9-10am informed me we would be starting on Tuesday.
In Gambia and the majority of Abrabic influenced world babies are not given names until the 7th day (in keeping with Islamic tradition and for various other reasons). So when the name is announced it is also a big deal. Perhaps on the same scale as a simple wedding. Although the ceremony lasts for an hour, guest and dignitaries travel to stop by and present the couple with gifts and to enjoy good food.
As custom right after the naming a goat is slaughtered by the men, as a man this involved me. Although it took a half hour for my stomach to recover I definitely had a better appreciation for the meat when I did get around to eating.
The remainder of the day was spent enjoying Ataiya (super strong green tea), playing the dice game and listening to music turned-up a little too loud (I must be getting old).
January 24th – 5:36pm
On a cool overcast day.
With the arrival of good friends Jon and Mike from Canada on Tuesday came, fresh excitement, culturally understanding conversation, sicknesses, intimate living conditions and fun. It has been a joy to show them around and share in their new world adventures.
On Wednesday morning staying true to my Gambian name I went off in search of manure for the garden. My logic cows wander everywhere, particularly around the highway, so why go buy fertilizer. Being nobody else wanted this job and with my gimped arm I’m pretty useless in the garden this only added to my logic. So off through the streets I wandered with my wheel barrow and shovel.
The dropping were scarce, after 15 minutes I had little more than the interest of the locals who were new to the idea of a $%@ collecting toubab. But God will reward the faithful and on route to the highway an elderly man discovered my intentions and called me over. Unable to speak English he simply pointed at a compound. Unsure what to expect I marched into a cattle feed lot - jackpot. Greeting the owner’s son I soon left with a triumphant smile and a wheelbarrow brimming with crop producing nutrients.
On Thursday Mike and I ventured to the GIG farm to gather more insight into farming in the Gambia. Although not exactly what we expected we did gain some valuable insight while picking peppers and washing squash with Kelly the farm’s manager. On return we discovered Jon had received his first encounter with foreign bacteria on a trip to the Youth for Christ office with Alieu Bah and was passed out on the bed. Soon Michael was also there beside him and it was not long after I also began to feel my system deteriorate.
Although the sickness has failed to keep us from all adventure I’ve been in limbo ever since. Taking away much of my energy it has also made finding and appetite (particularly for the more foreign food a challenge.
This afternoon I’m taking some time off after having a morning jam session with a traditional Kora band the “Wuli Band” (Stand-up band). I met them on a taxi ride and took a chance that they were good and worth a listen. They are not only good they are also a lot of fun to jam with. I’m excited about some potential for some recording with them later on in the project.