Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hey Everyone!

Wow… where to even begin…
It's been a while since my last updates, but my life and experiences here continue to go well, Khiva is fine, the weather remains hot, and... THE RAINS HAVE COME!!!

It's such a relief to enjoy the coming of the rainy season. As nice as it is to have the same, predictable weather every day for 8 months (HOT and dry), a little variety is nice. And watching the clouds roll in is nothing short of gorgeous. I must say I never really took the time in the States to see if storm clouds roll in like they do here, but I encourage you to check it out some time.

This past week we had our Annual Peace Corps All-Volunteer Conference for Gambia. We had a good 4 days of meetings, seminars and small group discussions, as well as an open-mic night to celebrate the 4th of July. It was a fun and productive time!

All the volunteers from my region of Gambia had matching overalls made. It was pretty rediculous. And you won't find any PICTURES of ME wearing them.

Celebrating the 4th of July outside the US is truly a unique experience, as the general atmosphere isn't quite as excited as those of us celebrating the holiday, but it's still great to be able to celebrate the freedoms and privelages we have (and often take for granted) in our country.

Back in Chargel life has been good. As the rains have come, its back to work in the fields. Millet, corn, rice, peanuts and gardens are all well under way.

The entire mood of the village changes the day of the first rains, as the whole "hurry up and wait" aspect of prepping for planting finally comes to an end. It's a nice change of pace!

But it's kind of weird to be a part of the planting knowing that I won't be a part of the harvesting, but it's still fun and exciting to be a part of the planting process.

When not in the fields I've been "busy" hanging out with friends, spending time with my host family and just enjoying being a part of the community of Chargel. As time continues to tick away I truly appreciate this experience and the relationships with my friends here exponentially more every day.

And with that, I'm more than excited that my aunt, uncle and cousin are coming to visit in less than 48 hours! I'm so excited to get to introduce them to the true way of life for the Fula and Mandinka people here in West Africa, as well as the many great friends who have made such an impact on my life and life-outlook.

I'm sure they will have great stories to share of the food, transportation, weather, and scenery. But more-so, I'm excited for them to get to share with you, from a different perspective, how incredibly hospitable, welcoming and comfortable the people of Chargel truly are. The amazing time they are about to have is truly a testament to how great of a village I live in.

So, with that, you can be looking forward to more blog posts and tons of more pictures at the end of the month.

Until then, I hope you are doing well and enjoyed a great 4th of July holiday with family and friends!