Everyone always says that Pre-Service Training is the hardest part of your Peace Corps service -- that once you get posted to site, you have more independence and life is thus easier.
I arrived in Dar el Barka on Tuesday, and these last days have by far been my most difficult since coming to Africa.
Up to this point, I have constantly been in the company of other Americans, but now it's just me in a village of a few thousand Mauritanians who all know my name (Raky!), as I struggle to learn theirs. The people are SO kind. I feel like my Pulaar is terrible, but day by day it's getting better. Often someone will rattle off a long sentence to me and I'll catch only the last word or two, but I fill in the gaps with whatever I assume they meant and I answer accordingly. This might get me into trouble soon, but so far so good.
My days are long, in no small part because school hasn't started yet. I've been trying to walk around the village and meet people, but it is pretty tiring. Also, it's Ramadan, so everyone is fasting and essentially just sleeping the daylight hours away. So, I've had a bunch of down-time in my room just reading and intermittently engaging in self-pity. I try not to be jealous of other RIM PCVs -- I wish I had a sitemate, I wish I had the internet, I wish I had electricity, I wish I had running water -- because let's face it. I obviously didn't come here because I thought it would be "easy."
That being said, your communication with me TRULY invigorates me. Please keep up the blog comments, emails, letters -- and I have great news about phone calls! I just bought a Senegalese cell number because it's supposed to have better service at my site. And it's much cheaper for YOU to call than Mauritania! All around, awesome. I still will keep the other number for when I travel outside of my site. Please use the one listed first (011.221.77.518.70.13), and keep in mind to check for rates to Senegal, not Mauritania. Onesuite.com is 26 cents a minute.
MISS YOU ALL, love to you via the glorious internet in Boghé!