School starts at half past 8, but on the first day, students wandered in through the gates closer to 9. Not a single child brought paper or a pen. But at least they showed up, which is more than half the teachers can say. Fifteen teachers failed to report, and one came with her baby tied to her back.
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.
Every time I cook with my sisters, they ask: “Do you eat this in America?” Time after time, I stare into the pot: fish heads bobbing in a red sauce, green curd-like paste made from leaves off our tree, spaghetti with mayonnaise, rice with palm oil. “No,” I shake my head. One day, my sister Sainabou finally exclaimed, somewhat perplexed: “Well, what do you eat in The Gambia?” I promised to show them one day.
A Peace Corps field trip in Gambian paradise.
I teach English, speak Spanish at home and am learning French. In other words, my brain could combust at any moment.
I have always had a passion for education and empowering others to reach their goals. Throughout the last two years of teaching English as a Foreign Language in Santiago, Chile, I’ve seen the terribly unequal access to quality education, and was further inspired to make a bigger impact in people’s lives through Peace Corps service.