As Fouta natives struggle to breathe in the last cool winds of the "cold season" my village dwelling days grow numbered. The Humanitarian Assistance Program (a branch of the military run through the U.S. Embassy) recently visited my village, at my request, and has donated about the equivalent of 1,000 dollars to perform structural repairs on the village health hut. (If you take a look at my picasa web site you can see pictures of the dilapidating building, most noticibly the ceiling falling down in one spot.) The villagers are extremely grateful and have already begun work. Things in this country always seem to take forever so imagine my surprise when I show up to the health hut just two days after receiving the money and find all the materials bought and men hard at work. The building now has running water and usable toilets, which is very exciting and quite necessary for any health structure, I would think.
Lately I've been spending the remainder of my days fielding village inquiries as to what stuff of mine they can have when I leave (I feel so loved) and hanging out with my friend Bilo while she works at the boutique and snags me free peanuts and kool-aid. Sometimes I think I'm really going to miss the simplicity and tranquility of this place -- the sounds of children playing and cows fighting, but then I go on a bike ride and while passing a donkey cart filled with children and fire wood, I get pegged in the back the head by a stick and turn around only to see the little shitheads smiling and waving. In those instances I think "Nah...I can get along just fine without this."
It is also pertinent to mention that February is here and that means only ONE thing to Peace Corps volunteers... WAIST! Yes boys and girls, its time once again for the West African Intramural Softball Tournament! So put your mitts on one hand, a hot dog in the other, wedge a beer under each arm and lets PLAY BALL! (Ahh WAIST, the one chance for us to feel truly American as we drink during the day guilt-free under the guise of a sporting event!) Mom and Dad, I promise to try and make good decisions (unlike that "free ride" I took last week) and try very hard NOT to break anything this year, be it body parts and/or my dignity.