In celebration of my first month in Guinea, I bring you today’s winning numbers:
2 – the number of languages that I can properly greet in. Malinke, which is spoken in Haute Guinea and Susu, which is spoken in Basse Cote.
2 – the number of last names that I have. Since I now have a host family in both regions. I’m Aicha Camara in Dubreka (Basse Cote) and Aicha Doumiya or Diallo -jury is still out- in Balandou.
14 – never thought my first cross country trip would be in Africa! The number of hours it takes to get from my site near Kankan to Dubreka. For explanation sake, imagine the worst pothole and driving over that for hours while stuffed into car that is made to carry maximum 7 people with 10. But I was grateful that we didn’t break down.
1 – the number of huts, yes hut, that I will be living in once I swear-in. When I return to Balandou with the Property Brothers (hgtv-reference), it’s really going to be nice. I’ll try to attach some pictures soon!
Work Life: Pre-Service training has been quite the roller coaster ride. I’ve always appreciated a good teacher and I as continue training, I’m learning firsthand how hard it is be one…and I’m barely mediocre at this point. For those who don’t know, I will be teaching Math in French. So there is the initial hurdle of learning math in my second language as well as how to articulate myself as a teacher in the Guinean classroom. Even something as simple as division can be an exerise as the French education system teaches it very differently than what is taught in America. In addition to technical training, we are also getting trained on cross-cultural relations which includes learning Susu, Pular, or Malinke. As we have been living in `Susuland`, I’ve been practicing my Susu with my host family in Dubreka. However, my worksite is located on the other side of the country, where they speak Malinke. After visiting my site, I’m learning that no one speaks French outside of professional settings so my Malinke will be handy for making friends and finding my way around my new community.
Homesickness is real. Period. If you’re someone that is not usually a very emotional person, it can sneak up on you when you least expect it in small bursts. For me, it happens in the moments right before I go to sleep or when I first wake up. Most days have been great, I’m busy communicating in different languages, going to new places, and meeting new people that my mind is always racing to keep up. But after my bucket bath and Im lying in my bed, my mind wanders back to my family and friends in America…
Cures for Homesickness:
Listening to BBC America with my host dad. Dual purpose: it allows me to stay up to date on the news and my host dad and I can discuss topics in French. I should’ve recorded the conversation we had on Trayvon Martin, he had a lot to say, and most of it was on point for someone who had never been to America.
Listening to music. Can also help with insomnia, if your mind is still racing from the sensory overload of the day.
Spending time with the children in your host family or finding friends in your community. My host family in Dubreka is a very large family with many small children which can sometimes be very overwhelming after a long day of training. So I spoke to one of the language trainers about a good place to get my hair braided. Again, dual purpose: the humidity in Dubreka is terrible so something had to be done before I haphazardly cut all my hair off myself and on a more saner note, I wanted to meet other women in my community. She excitedly introduced me to Aicha Fofana, who not only did my hair but I also watched TV for the first time in Guinea at her house. Her family has insisted that I come to their house for dinner everday and was a little disappointed when they realized that I have a host family down the street. I still go over there 2-3 times a week just to sit and speak French and practice my Susu with people that are around my age. Now that Ramadan is over, I’ve been invited out dancing at this club with some of her friends next week, so I’ll let you know how that goes!
Oh yea…about homesickness, just get out of the bed and out of your head!
Hmm…I need to translate that into Malinke…
Posted from WordPress for Android