My time living in PK7 is through. Unbelievable! This means I have been gone from America for nearly 10 weeks, and I am about to swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer this Thursday -- inshallah. All the trainees returned to the center today, and we will be here until Saturday when we each depart to our permanent sites. Prrretty sweet.
The other toubabs and I decided to sponsor a little fête last night to thank our families for their generosity. On Friday, Ryan and I were sent to the Rosso market with a shopping list of goodies for the celebration. I had to buy a duffel bag just to be able to carry all the stuff we got, while Ryan carried a sack of 15 kilos (that's 33 pounds) of potatoes on his head -- in the heat of the day! That's true commitment.
Yesterday we all said our sad goodbyes to our families and had a relaxed final day at PK7. Around 6pm, they dragged a sheep away to be slaughtered. I had wanted to watch, just for the experience, but it proved far too gruesome for me. Slitting the throat, peeling off the skin... that's intense stuff. The turnaround time from baying beast to delicious dinner was impressively short. The food was the best I've had in Mauritania so far. Lots of pepper and garlic, per the Americans' request! And where usually we have no beverages at all, this night we drank sweet, sweet bissap -- with ICE, a true luxury. (They insisted on waiting until nightfall, when it's a breezy 75 degrees, to sip this icy treat. What do we drink as the sun beats down? Steaming hot tea, of course.) After dinner we had an impromptu dance party, and the women painted henna on Teresa and me as a special going-away gift.
As our car pulled away this morning and our families all waved, I was blinking back tears. The community in PK7 has been AMAZING to us... here's to hoping for just as good a time in Dar el Barka.
Photos below. I have some videos, but they are near impossible to upload. I will keep trying this week.