Here’s my tally of random happenings that sum up my Peace Corps Pre-Service Training.
As a last hurrah in training, we walked a half marathon through The Gambia: around rice fields, near cashew orchards, in waist-deep boiling mud, across dry plains and through knee-deep grass. The “Marathon March” served as a perfect metaphor for our service.
The following is a profile on my host mother and Gambian namesake who cared for me during my two months of Peace Corps training. She not only welcomed me to her home, but folded me into her family — worrying and fussing over me as if I really was her daughter. She is quite the character and an inspiration for my service.
Since Day One, my sisters have been offering to arrange my marriage to a Gambian husband. With each new person I meet, it’s more of the same — a flood of questions about why I lack a husband and child. In a culture where family life plays such an integral role and people are expected to get married and have babies, Gambians don’t understand how a 25-year-old woman could not only be single, but also say she doesn’t want a husband. I’ve tried various tactics to deflect the interrogations and marriage proposals, many of which have been less than successful.
Despite some beliefs that my malaria meds caused me to hallucinate and cut off my hair, I am still loving the new do. It’s growing…