We just returned from our village stay yesterday, it was truly an amazing experience, and means that I have just passed the 1/3 mark for my program (10 weeks to go). We were all paired with one other American student (except for our lone boy, who had to rough it alone) and placed with families that seemed more like compounds or small armies. I was with a girl named Claire (or Awa Diarro). We had a wonderful time, and the week really flew by. Lists seem to work best for me, so, here is a list of the best things about the village stay:
Our main host, who Claire and I affectionately nicknamed "our little father," because he was TINY. (We have a picture of the three of us together, we postively dwarf him).
Getting to try Bogolan (mud dye) and Batik (wax dye). My Boulangerie t-shirt is not amazing, but the Batik is pretty cool, I made a giant blue wall hanging with elephants for my dad.
Our day helping the village women work. We got to wash cloths, bathe babies and pound millet (I was apparently very lacking at this last thing, whenever I would start all of the women would start to exclaim "oh no, Jamila is too tired, someone else take over," even though I really wasn't tired, I'm just not strong.
The crazy woman who thought that the funniest thing ever was to try to get Claire and I to nurse her baby, which consisted of poking us in the boobs for awhile, and then laughing hysterically for 15 minutes (this is after she offered to give it to us to take back to the US. We refused, if were going to kidnap a baby, it will at least be cuter).
The dance that the village women organized for us. Aka laugh at how little rythme American girls have). And, as the least capable dancer of 18 girls whose attempts where already laughable, I was quite a hoot.
Realizing how happy I was to return to my Bamako family, whom I have been with for nearly a month aleady. It was especially nice when my host mom told me that my little siblings asked when I was getting back everday, little Fatou, the five year old, apparently felt very strongly that the needed to "go get Jamila." They even waited to celebrate my oldest brother's eleventh birthday until Saturday, so that I could be there. This meant the I got to see the preparations from a live bird through a killing (my brothers thought it was hilarious to chase me with bloody feathers and claws), through the thorough frying of everything.
Now I am getting back into the swing of life in Bamako, though we only have three more weeks of classes, followed byour two week grand excursion and then ending with 5 weeks of research. Unfortunately, I am a little sick at the moment, and am being forced into a clinic visit tomorrow to check for Malaria. The worst part (other than projectile vomiting all over my family's house), is that I missed my Sunday run with Papa, my newly eleven year old brother, an event that always makes me miss Jesse alot (though it's nice that I can keep up with Papa). Anyway, I will try to write at least once more before the Grand Excursion in April, and sorry for any spelling mistakes, I blame the French keyboard/ my potential Malaria.