Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fun Stuff

So I’ve finally uploaded some pictures, and there should be more coming soon. Thanks to all of you who have sent letters and packages. You have no idea how much hearing from home can brighten up a Peace Corps Volunteer’s day…speaking of which, I am officially a volunteer and am no longer a trainee.

Swear-in was great. We all got dressed up in Mauritanian clothes, and the U.S. Ambassador came. Then we all cooked an American dinner and danced the night away!

My Site

I have moved into Kiffa and I love it. Everyone I have met has been super friendly. I officially signed my housing contract yesterday, and slowly started moving my stuff into today. Today was also the first day of Ramadan, which so far hasn’t really changed things much, except that I will eat lunch with Americans and only dinner with Mauritanians. I’ll post some pictures soon of my house and all the awesome people that live there.

Things I think are funny…

I think language generally reflects the priorities of society. For example, in Hassaniya, the words is-subh means not only morning, but also tomorrow, making it very difficult to say things like “tomorrow morning”. But, this makes sense in a country where time is a much more elastic term than in the U.S.

However, other terms are much more precise than anything we have in English. For example, “aana sabat” means “I’m full”, in terms of food, but “anna narwa” means “I’m full of drink”. Apparently what you’re full of is very important. There is also a phrase with the direct translation of “going through tea withdrawal”. I can’t remember the phrase because I’ve never used it. I’ve had more mint tea in the last two months than I ever expected to drink in my whole life.

Probably my other favorite difference between Hassaniya and English is when it comes to insults. In English, we have some tried and true insults that one might yell if they were angry (I will refrain from typing these phrases as this is a public site). Hassaniya insults, though, are so much more creative than our own. Here are some of my favorites (in their direct English translation):

  1. May God burn your father
  2. May Gad send you snakes
  3. May God shorten your life

So next time you are angry, try saying this to someone and seeing what they reaction is.

Ok, that’s all from here. E-mail me to try to set up a Skype chat time in the next couple of months. Stay well and I hope to hear from you soon.

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