As we dressed for the cultural show, my mother draped strings of beads around my neck and across my chest in a traditional Jola fashion. She stood back, looked at me and sucked her teeth. “Ahaaaaa,” she said. “Nice, nice! My toma will be first.”
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.
A Peace Corps field trip in Gambian paradise.