Monday, May 19, 2008

My First Post!

I would like to start by saying that this is my first blog. Having never been on Facebook or Myspace, this a little strange for my, but since deciding to join the Peace Corps, I’ve had many requests for life updates, so I figured it was about time I moved into the 21st century. I’m not sure how often I will have internet access once in Mauritania, but I will do my best to keep everyone up to date, and just let you know that I’m still alive and well. I expect that in return you will keep me posted on your lives.

Now, for some Frequently Asked Questions! (Feel free to e-mail if you have any others that I did not answer)

I’ve never heard of
Mauritania. Is it in Eastern Europe?

No, Mauritania is not in Eastern Europe. I did not know much about Mauritania before receiving my assignment, so here are some basics I have learned since then, although, at this point I’m probably not much more useful than Wikipedia. The official name of the country is le Republique Islamique de Mauritanie, (aka the RIM). It is in the northwest corner of Africa, surrounded by Morocco and Algeria to the north, Mali to the east, and Senegal to the south. Mauritania is large, and I won’t know what region I will be living in until I’ve been in country for a few weeks. The majority of the country is desert (Saharan Desert to be exact), with slightly more fertile land on the west coast, as well as running along the Senegal River in the south. As you may have guessed, the weather there gets pretty warm.

is a predominately Muslim country. Business and other formal interactions may be conducted in French (so finally I can use those six years of class I’ve racked up), but the majority of people speak one of four languages: Hassaniya (a dialect of Arabic), Pulaar, Wolof, and Soninke. My first two and half months in the RIM will be spent in training, with a heavy focus on learning the language.

What will you be doing?

The program I am a part of is called Girls Education and Empowerment. Most of the job revolves around the Girls Mentoring Centers. Some of these are already created, in which case I would be working in creating programs for young women, which include tutoring and other extra curricular activities. I could also be helping to start one of these centers. I’ll know more after I’ve been in country for a bit, and promise to post more details then.

And now for the most frequently asked question….HOW ARE YOUR PARENTS DEALING WITH ALL OF THIS?

The answer is, better than expected. They have been incredibly supportive, despite the fact that they are worried. So for those of you reading this who are my friends, if you’re in the Chicago area, either because you live here or are passing through, give them a call and come eat dinner with them (my mom is an excellent cook). I am the youngest child, and they are now officially empty nesters, and may need some company. For those of who are friends of my parents, make sure to call and check in regularly, and make sure to take them out and distract them every so often.


That’s all for now. I’ll probably try to post at least one more time before I leave. I’ll be heading to Atlanta on June 17th for two days of training, and then my whole training class to head to Mauritania together. I’m looking forward to seeing and/or speaking to most of you before my departure date. Thanks so much for all the support you’ve all given me. I really appreciate it.


Lindsey said...

you are so lovely.

Lauren said...

Yay! I'm excited to read about your Corps Adventures! And I owe you some pictures...

Lindsey said...

i can't wait for more posts....for real.

Rachel said...

how much are plain tickets to where you live...