So I have been here for three weeks and things are beginning to become more and more easy. I have spent much more time with all members of my family and also have become more accustom to the streets and roads and therefore can travel around easier as well.
This past weekend my sister Djeneba left to take her week's worth of exams for University, this left me to assert my independence at home. So far I have learned to make dinner and also fend for myself for daily needs, this seems simple but when people here rarely speak french and when they do talk far to fast I have picked up this pretty quickly. But this has also left me time to hang out with my individual sisters and brothers. Each one is full of personality which seems to almost be a reauirement in Mali, there is no one who falls by the wayside nor does anyone tromp over anyone else. There is like an unwritten harmony of the Malians.
But I talked to my brother Bene for the first time, he was always off motoing or hanging with friends or just watched Merlin on TV. But I was mentioning to the family how I was going to read 'Sous L'orage' for my french class and how I was told that all high school students have to read it. Long after I brought this up my brother came up to me and said he had a present, he then gave me the book. As for a first impression he made a great one, and the following night we played a much more intense game of Malian Sorry than I have ever seen. This was a huge breaking point I thought especially when he came off so cold to begin with.
Also the students at SIT have found European Mecca in Mali. There is a very westernized street that has a market that sells ketchup, chips, real shampoo, etc... Also there is a pastry shop near it. This place, Armadines, is truly my hero. It is like a tiny piece of America, while entirely offputting that I missed American food this much, I am forever grateful that we found this delictable treat.
Healthwise, I have been doing better. I caught typhoid fever. Apparently daytime bugs spread typhoid and nighttime bugs spread malaria. You are safe at no point in the day. But there are other health problems as well, people do not eat the right things to promote healthy digestion nor do they eat enough nutrients. White bread, white rice, and pasta are my family's favorite foods. I have been struggling and never thought I would come to Africa and gain weight but it seems inevitable. I lose weght in my arms, legs, and face, but with all this starch I am going to be a walking potato at my return. But typhoid, hopefully I beat it, I took all the medicine so hopefully it all worked out.
But resolution to the food here is to cook dinner for my family on Sautrday. I am going to make vegetable loaded tacos. There is fruit and vegetables sold everywhere, but no one seems to buy them. Also the european Mecca has chips and taco shells. I report back to tell you how it goes.
Also I have been dressing my maids wounds. She says it has been doing much better but I have run out of gauze. I am going to attept to find it today but the stores don't carry the same things here, but I feel like I am doing something great for her. However I still have no idea what it is, and hope to gosh it is not something spreadable but I have taken to wearing gloves when I dress her wounds.
Lastly we visited USAID today, The man Paul was incredibly helpful and reinforced my idea for my ISP fully. He spoke of all the good things that America is doing in Mali and for once I walked out of a presentation content at the outcome, most of the time I simply asked why. Why does this exist if there is no job guarantee afterwards? Why is this here is it does not inforce the persecution on marital violence? There are countless questions for our presentations that are completely openended, but today I walked away very very happy.
So I will keep on looking for these good things because often I walk away upset at the lack of my understanding the language or because of my frusteration with the actual process of the organization.
Until next time!!