Sweat leaked down my cheeks and off my nose although I stood in nothing but my underwear. It was eight days after arriving in country — only the fourth with this family — and my Gambian sisters were stripping me bare below the corrugate iron roof that absorbs the African heat.
My sisters say their goal is to make me so fat I am unrecognizable when I go back to America, so everyone will know how great Africa is. I’m doing my best to counter their evil conspiracy!
I am learning the language and culture throughout the next 10 weeks through classes and integration with my host family. I live in a Jola compound in Soma, which is a big town about 1/3 inland, south of the river. Although many live in squalor, my family seems to be well off. The compound has 10 two-room houses, many of which are beautifully furnished.
I shaved my head — all 10 inches of my thick, brown hair — four days after I moved to Africa. Why?
After the flight to Brussels, more waiting and the final flight to Gambia, we arrived after nearly 36 hours of traveling. As we arrived, my nerves were replaced with pure excitement