A Letter from Leo

Hi friends,

It’s me again. Woof woof!

An alarming number of Gambians are convinced that Peace Corps volunteers are spies. My mom and I thought it would be hilarious to keep up the ruse, so we did some conspiring and now … I’m a guard dog!

Ok, ok, I tried really really really really hard to be a guard dog. Here’s what happened.

When I first took the job, everything was going great, especially because my oversized pointy ears that everyone teases me for finally came in handy. I would sit out front of our compound on look the out for suspicious activity all afternoon. When the neighborhood kids came over, I let them pass. But any time a strange kid I didn’t recognize tried to enter, I chased him out of the compound until he cried … naturally.

Then, mango season – or shall I say war – started and our whole stint started to crumble. I tried to keep up the brave façade but when it sounds like bombs are dropping on the roof every ten minutes, it’s not easy. These big yellowy green grenades, apparently called mangos, fell from the sky every day for weeks. I would be just minding my own business then BAM! a mango would fall near, or worse, on, my head. As any normal pup would be, I was terrified. No matter how hard I tried to calculate when these mango things would drop, it was always when I least expected it. I just couldn’t get used to it and every time, I would jump up and scurry away, whimpering with my tail between my legs like a coward. Embarrassing, I know. It’s not something I’m proud of.

Finally when the bombs stopped falling, shell casings came in their place. Rain! With a tin roof, it sounds like a shoot out every time water falls from the sky. So what do I do? Duck and cover, of course. As soon as the water starts, I run inside my mommy’s house and hide in the corner under the kitchen table. After a little coaxing, I am able to calm down a bit. But seriously, this whole thing has become really unsettling. First the mango bombs and now this. This most recent gun battle started four days ago and there’s no sign of a truce on the horizon – just cloudy grey skies. I smell PTSD in my future.

So, as you can tell: the jig is up. Everyone in the neighborhood knows I’m not at all ferocious and that the whole guard dog bit was just a cover.



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