Our big news for the past month is that we officially moved out of our village. It was sad, but after Ben’s tie & dye group got disbanded by an NGO, we decided that two Peace Corps volunteers and two NGOs are too much for a village of 200 people. So we asked Peace Corps for a site change, and moved into a new compound in an area called Kanifang. We took over another volunteer’s house after she left in August. We have 3 rooms, a bathroom, kitchen, power, and a TV. It is certainly a change from our village! Packing up and leaving our village went really well. The women had their final tie & dye meeting and gave us some really nice fabric they made with us in Somita. When the Peace Corps car came, all of our neighbors came over and helped us move our things out and said good-bye. It was easier for us to say good-bye because we knew it wasn’t for good and that we’ll come back to visit often before we leave Gambia. It was really nice and our Host Father said a prayer and talked about how we came in peace and are leaving in peace.
Ben started working with an NGO called International Relief & Development (IRD) on their Cashew project. He is working on the Gambia River Basin Cashew Value Chain Enhancement Project. The project promotes local cashew production with farmers and tries to link them with local cashew processors. It is going well for him. I was set up with a teaching position at the University of Gambia; all the necessary procedures were approved, but the University is having problems with the department I will be working with and I haven’t been able to start work yet. Right now, I am keeping busy by working on two manuals for Peace Corps.
We are still settling in to our new place, and it is really different from our previous experience in village. The compound we live in now is very large with four separate houses in it. 2 other volunteers live in the other houses, and our landlord and his family live in a big two-story house in the compound. We eat lunch with the family when we are home. On Fridays we eat a good Gambian dish called ‘benechin’ which is fried rice with vegetables. Our compound benechin is the best we’ve tasted in the Gambia and other volunteers come over to eat it with us when they can. We also have lots of chickens. It’s great, and we are enjoying our last few months that we have left!
Our living room
The compound entrance
hallway to our house
Our landlord sells eggs, and sometimes chicken