3/15/07

The Gambia, version 1.2

I'm writing this from the computer lab at the Banjul American Embassy School where Rebecca is teaching Kindergarten, she has 9 kids at the moment... none appear to be of African descent, but that's the only commonality amongst them. Two of them are fast readers and very expressive facially. Another has a lazy eye, is from England, and goes "bonkers" when he sits in the wrong person's seat. Another couple speak very little English and much more Arabic. Another wears glasses and likes to throws his hands up and grasp his head or hit it whenever he makes a mistake. Another has a bouncy voice and is a little mischevious. Another is the "little prince" who is led by his own (short) attention span, though he can't seem to help it. One of the boys isn't here today. (note: Sorry for the edit, names in this context are inappropriate. Also, 3 of them are in fact of African descent!)

When more of the grade levels all lined up this morning, and then we all walked towards our classrooms, Rebecca pointed out to me the President's daughter who is schooling here, her nanny, and a couple of bodyguards who maintain a comfortable distance. I never even got a look at her face, but I had this unexpected (internal of course) burst of emotion just thinking about how beautiful it is that she's here in this environment, and that this school is here for her. Reason it seems so important to me is that the President is very popular for a variety of reasons.

Yesterday we spent the day with Ana taking us around, much time at her own compound, and some time at a crocodile pool with *many* crocs and many historical cultural exhibits, right in Bakau. We went to the market, and went out to the public dock at the beach and walked out to the end of it. We've got some cool pictures and video that will get up here when we return.

The flight went well. We are heading back out right now to get some bean sandwhiches, to see more of the Bakau market. Over the next couple days we will see Abdoulie, Dembo, Sirif, play some football (soccer), go to a club, listen do DuDu play the Kora, I will hopefully make it to a 7am Mass tomorrow morning, and early early Sunday morning we will take a GellyGelly (spelling? name they give the local public transportation between villages, buses jam packed with people, animals, and personal belongings) out to Dankunku with Dembo and spend a couple days there, return on Tuesday. Both trips will take an entire day. We will have perhaps two days back here before we get back on our plane on Friday night.