She is our host mom I am constantly referring to. The one who speaks English, and we get along very well. She has a good sense of humor, and a resiliency that encourages me daily. We laugh a lot over our misunderstandings, and she helps us out significantly. Without her, our lives here would be a lot more difficult because she speaks English better than anyone else in our compound. I will keep giving you updates on her because I think her life is so incredibly different from western women lives.
Sibou grew up in a bigger town and went to school until 9th grade where she had to drop out because of money problems. Then her dad chose the man and time when she got married and has had 5 children – but only two of them live with us. The past 5 years she lived in Serrekunda, the largest part of the City area where Gambians live. She has never in her life worked in the garden or rice/coos field. She owns a TV, a mobile, and nice things like stiletto hot pink shoes. From the sound of it, she was living fairly well off with her husband who was a carpenter. When he died, she came to our village just 8 months ago. I asked her if she wanted to come and she laughed and said emphatically “No, Here is Bush”. I asked her why she came then and she said if she did not come, her parents would beat her. Did I mention that Sibou is 30 years old?
She also told me that Suleman – her oldest kid that lives with us will be going to live with his uncle in Serrekunda sometime. When? She doesn’t know, sometime soon. Why? Just because. I think really it is because our family cannot afford the extra mouth, but she didn’t say that so it may not be true. I was so saddened by the thought of Suleman leaving that I almost started crying – he’s such a sweet little boy! I asked her if she would be sad. She laughed and said ‘only small. Here there are lots of children, it’s okay to give away. When you go back to America you can take this one (pointed at her stomach)”. I laughed and told her that if I took her baby home with me I’d get arrested in America for not having any paperwork.
This coming Tuesday she has a doctor’s appointment in a bigger village and I am going with her. I am excited to see the hospital and to check out the prenatal visit. Also a Peace Corps Response Volunteer lives in the town, and she is giving us a kitten when she leaves on May 15 so I want to meet our new kitty Simba as well!