Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cultural Exchanges - 18 Feb 2011

During our training, we’ve been learning a lot about Gambians values, beliefs, and suspicions.  They have a lot of superstitions, as we do.  Gambians believe that if you sweep at night or whistle at night you will have bad luck. They also believe if you touch your head, you will have bad luck. If you wear scripture around your body, you will have good luck.  Gambians believe in greetings – Peace be with you, how are your people, how are the children, how is your father, how is your mother, etc.  We are not fully used to it yet, but it is the way that Gambians show they care about you.  They ask you where you’re going, where you’ve been, what you’re doing tomorrow, etc.  When ben and I are separated, it is Sana lee? (ben where?) from everyone who walks by. Gambians also believe in sharing, especially food.  Everyone asks you to eat with them, but we are being fed by the Peace Corps right now so we decline.  When our host dad goes to another town, he frequently picks up something for us – an ice-y, fanta, sweet bread.  He is a fabulous host dad. Last night, a few of the trainees in our village gathered together to eat cookies and look at the full moon (forms of nighttime entertainment are few in the village).  Our host dad told us that he would not go to sleep until we came back, and sure enough upon our return he was still sitting on the front porch waiting. J It is odd for us to have a curfew again.
We also entertain the children.  All of the volunteers have different methods for this. Some play a version of duck duck goose (baa baa sisi - english translation: goat goat chicken), some come up with insults in mandinka (?), some teach english while learning mandinka, and some just scare them all. We have come up with different methods, its challenging when you can’t fully speak the same language! It’s hard to explain red rover and simon says so I’ve stuck to ‘patty cake’ and started having our kids do races.  They love both.  Patty cake is funny because random kids will do 'air' patty cake to me from across fields, gardens, and compounds.  Racing is fun because they look so dang cute and everybody loves it.  We make them hop, jump, bear crawl, crab walk, etc. Any other ideas of things to entertain children with would be welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Kate and Ben,

    So good to hear what is going on there in the Gambia! Funny thing, in India the children call duck duck goose, yak yak monkey. I guess it is really just what animals you have. Love it. We miss you here. Daniel and I have turned to each other frequently saying, we miss the Turners. So happy for you guys though that you are able to do this.

    Lots of love,