Sunday, August 06, 2006

Life is work

August 1, 2006

I live a physical life here in Guinea. In this city of about 12,000 people 28 of us Americans are training to become Peace Corps Education Volunteers. It is week 3 of 11 weeks of training.

Our minds are flooded with French, technical French specific for our teaching subject (math, chemistry, physics, English), safety and security, health and cross culture sessions from 8-17h. It is a long day of exhausting brain work that never ends. After school, my next step is home to my bilingual French and Sous Sous speaking family.

I am integrating and adapting well. I spend most of my social time with my family. We talk about divorce, domestic violence, cultural differences. We play games, crochet, make friendship bracelets, dance, tell stories, sing, and laugh a lot.

I rarely feel the heat. It is like Alabama. The evenings and shade are cool.

I love life in Guinea. Life in Guinea is physical. It is work. I sweat. I take bucket baths. I wash clothes by hand. I write by candlelight. I walk to the market to buy food. I talk, sing, and dance as entertainment. I eat freshly prepared meals cooked by wood fires daily. Dishes are washed using well water, the dirt ground as our kitchen counter. Yes this is the life for me, back to the basics, back to the simplicity of activity compared to the easy life of non-activity. Non-activity, yes I am talking about you: electricity, TV, fast food, e-mail, Internet, cars, machines, air condition.

Life is work.

Rarely do I have time to sit and think, to question and ponder the depths of my heart and soul.

Yet something has popped up.

Life is work here, but at what price do I pay for this simplicity?
gender specific roles, patriarchy, and non-equality between the sexes

Is my US Independence worth giving up for the simple Guinean utopia of life is work?

Asides:
I am taking African dance. I spend an hour soaked through dancing and dancing. I love it!

Teaching chemistry in French at practice school has been fun. I like it a lot better than teaching at the university.

Food is awesome here. I get rice and fish sauce, leaf sauce, peanut sauce. Lots of fresh avocados and French baguettes for breakfast. Try an avocado with sugar. It is like jam.

I rarely have electricity. My Internet and e-mail access is very very limited. I am in Conakry for just one night and then will be off again to the world of non-electricity. I am going to visit my site where I will be living for 2 years then I will be back in training. It is about a 12 hour ride.

I am doing very well. Life has not been stressful yet. I am waiting for a challenge to pop up.

I will try to post again at the end of August.

Best wishes my friends and family.

Love,

Jennifer

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know you hate them but do you have access to phones as well as computers?
if so call at work
256-232-1656

maria said...

What's up? Are you there yet?
Are you happy you went?
Any new friends? What do you do during the days?

Please let us know!