No joke, my future home in Mauritania is called cow poop. The name of my town Awaynit Zybil, which means water and cow poop. I, along with another volunteer named Mike are the first volunteers in the area. We're a two day drive from the capitol of the country, and the community is pretty conservative so it looks like I'll be wearing a mulafa (think Charlie Brown's halloween costume but pastel) everyday. But I'm really excited about the possibilites we'll have in the next two years. The officials in the town seem really receptive and are pretty eager for us to return in September after we finish up language class and are officially sworn in as volunteers. I ate a lot of goat and drank a lot of hot camel/cow milk straight from the source. Yum.
Traveling across Mauritania this past week was eye opening. Besides giving me a sore bottom from off-roading (which is only fun for the first five minutes), I got a better sense of the different cultures here. There are many, sometimes in the same village or city, and I get the sense that tensions still run high in many areas. There's a presence of NGO's like World Vision and Oxfam in bigger towns but definitly not in Awaynit. Our goal is to open up a Girl's Mentoring Center within a year but I'm sure Mike and I will also have many other side projects. I'm hoping to start a garden (in the desert? YOU BET) and possibly a small library but I'll have to get back there and see what the community wants from us before we begin anything. And I'm really going to have to work on my Hassaniya. Although greetings here can last five minutes I'm probably going to need a little more vocab than hello, how are you with the rain/work/heat/etc. I miss you all very very much. Hope summer is beautiful where ever you are.