2 months of training in a small, small nutshell
To set the time up for everyone, I've just arrived back in Kombo (the capital city metro area) after being up-country for about two months for Peace Corps training. We were moving around between my small, Wolof training village and a tourist camp called Tendaba and a few other places.
While in my training village, Sare Samba, my training group and I tried to learn the language and started getting used to traditional Gambian village culture. There were two groups of 3 for the classes. I lived in a small family compound of a mother and father and their 4 children. After the 2nd day there we'd all received our Gambian names in a semi-traditional naming ceremony. By the end of the first week, my small group had begun alternating nights of yoga with lots of onlookers and ultimate frisbee games with lots of the village kids.
After that, we went to Tendaba camp for some technical training and running water and intermittent electricity. I don't really remember too much about that...It was pretty uneventful. We returned to Sare Samba and spent two weeks trying to wrangle the language with 20+ pronoun tenses, no verb conjugations and some crazy, repetitious grammar that I have come to love. I helped the family farm some peanuts, taught them a few card games and got to know my fellow training village trainees a little better. At the end of that stint I went to visit a volunteer up-country and learned a little about what he does. It was a fun trip and then we commenced two weeks of model school at Tendaba again.
Model school was pretty interesting and we were able to explore some of the realities we might be facing when we begin teaching in the schools. Some of the difficulties are kids who have a hard time understanding/reading/speaking in English and getting participation out of them. The American education model is much different that what is used here. There is not too much to report about all of this but I enjoyed my classroom time and the opportunity to see everyone again.
We returned to Sare Samba for another few days without much happening and we left permanently to visit our permanent sites and head back down to Kombo for swearing-in. My site, Nyanga Bantang, is a smallish village on the North Bank in CRD where I will be teaching junior high science and working on some other projects at Nyanga Bantang Basic Cycle School. My family is great and absolutely gigantic. They have been extremely welcoming and helpful. My host brother is probably one of the most important men in the village: he is the Al Kali (village head), Assistant Imam at the Mosque, owner of one of the two bitiks in town, owns the tailoring shop and telecenter, and has some gardens and farm land! Another host brother is a nurse at a nearby clinic and the women are all hard working. One of my favorites is a 1 year old named Lamin with a wild laugh and big toothless grin.
The school is nice and has been fortunate enough to have an addition put on of three classrooms and a staff room. The teachers that I have met seem very dedicated to the school and excited to teach. My counterpart, the headmaster, has been very welcoming and I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know all of them.
Well, that brings me to the present. Sorry about the lack of detail but I think that is about as good as I can do for two months worth of summary in one post. Swearing-in is on Friday and I'll be heading up to site for three month challenge. I'll probably be out of access for the next few months so I hope that all is well!