My name is Jessica Danielle Fryman, but I also answer to Fatoumata Camara.
I know three languages, the third being a tribal tongue less than one percent of the world speaks. I like to run even though I’m not that good at it. I read a lot. And I once published a book I wrote, setting all the type by hand on an old-fashioned printing press. I’m an avid traveler and amateur photographer. I’m also a master spider-killer and possess the ability to stalk my prey without the squeamish screams of my former urban life.
I’m originally from Las Vegas, a city with more people than the entire country where I currently live. I now reside in a two-room concrete house with a tin roof and a ceiling made of rice bags. I eat with my hand out of a shared food bowl. I walk down a dirt road to fetch my water and carry it home in a bucket on my head. And yes, I even poop in a hole in the ground.
I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia.
Throughout my two-year service, I am training primary teachers to use interactive methodology, working to improve student literacy and helping to create learning resources, including a school library. About 600 students, grades 1-6, attend the lower basic school where I do my primary project work.
I also am starting a bee farming business with my host brother and am learning as we go!
My journey to this tiny West African country has been a round-about one.
My first love was journalism. I founded my high school newspaper when I was 14. The staff later named the newsroom in my honor. I went on to be Editor-in-Chief of The Nevada Sagebrush, the nationally-acclaimed news organization at my college. In the summers, I interned around the country. I earned my Bachelor’s from The University of Nevada in the spring of 2011. Then, I started working at my hometown’s paper, The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to the stories about people: their fights for equal rights or tales of everyday struggles.
But I wanted to stop observing and do.
In January 2012, I moved to Santiago, Chile, on a one-way ticket. I became certified in teaching English, then taught various ages and levels for just over two years. After seeing the inequitable education systems in South America, I decided, once again, I needed to do more for the world.