Here’s the 411 on what has been going down. From Chicago we (the 13 of us also known as the baker’s dozen) flew to Brussels. We waited in the airport for 3 hours and then made our final journey to Banjul, where we were greeted by a tall Gambian man named Sherrif. We flocked under his Peace Corps sign and then Linda, the Program and Training manager, arrived and calmed any nerves we may have had with a huge hug and a grand smile. After our greetings our first job was to obtain our luggage. Standing by the conveyor belt and keeping an eye peeled, I spoke to an airport worker that continued to calm any of my nerves by repeatedly telling us that we were welcome in the country. That feeling has only grown since.
For the past two days we have stayed in the transit house in Fajara. It has 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms and wireless internet that chooses when it would like to work. The house itself looks as though something you would find in America. The only thing that sets it apart is the fence that is topped with broken glass bottles to keep unwanted visitors out.
I have now gone through one long day of training where we were taught things from how to change the tire on our bike to ways to stay safe in The Gambia. Considering they can’t tell us everything in one day, there are still many things I don’t know. For instance, I still don’t know what language I will learn how to speak, or what village I will be in. However, here is what I do know:
Accessing the internet will not be as easy as I thought. The Peace Corps Headquarters once had wireless internet, but due to budget cuts, it now only contains 3 computers that allow internet access, which normally have a line for use.
The mail run has also been changed to running once every 8 weeks rather than once every 4.
Here’s the good news… On Monday, we are receiving cell phones that are on a group plan for Peace Corps members. We can call and text each other for free, and it gets even better… When we receive calls from the states it is also FREE! (For us that is). It will cost on your end. I’ve heard that Skype is the cheapest way to do so, and when I find out my number I will be sure to share it.
Last and certainly not least is how I feel about all of this. It’s pretty simple. I feel as though I’m where I’m supposed to be. Period. End of Sentence. J So don’t worry, Mom! Love you all!