Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Living Situation

After our looooong journey we finally arrived at Happy Camp.

It's also called Tubab Palace by some. Tubab is a word which comes from "two bob" or the fee that British colonises used to pay Gambians for odd jobs (definition from Washington City Paper article entitled "Tubabs in Africa" which is actually about St. Mary's students!). We are very lucky to get to live in such a beautiful home. There are some great staff here that help us out a lot who are all Gambian. We are all one big family. I know I'll be talking about them more. While it is not the kind of city that we are used to back home, we live in what is known as the city area in The Gambia.

Kaylie is taking the picture, but otherwise this is the whole group up on the roof of Happy Camp. It's great when the power goes out (which is every day at some point, usually at night but you never know) because it has a cool breeze some nights. Plus it has a beautiful view:
I love our pink house and we are so lucky to have it. 

The Peace Corps has a program here and so do other volunteer organizations around the world. We have had the pleasure to meet some of these other tubabs. They are all living in compounds or villages in a very different situation. Compounds consist of a whole extended family of 30, 40, 50 people living in one area and can be very crowded. Compounds can exist in the "city" area, but villages are usually up country. We will be visiting different villages and compounds throughout the semester for weekend trip so that will put us in perspective of where we live ourselves. 
During orientation we spent down time reading in our upstairs common room reading or goofing around (but mostly goofing around).

And then 10 minutes later the power went off! Something we have all gotten used to.

On day 2 we went exploring around our neighborhood with our day watchman who we all consider a friend as well, Malayan. We had a companion along the walk (the dog above). There are so many dogs here, but they don't seem to belong to any one person. They often survive off of the food they can find on the street.. We call this guy Whiskey because according to our language and culture teacher (Baboucarr) that is a very common name for dogs in The Gambia. 

And now the adventuring begins!

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