Cranky pants

Trip Start Mar 15, 2005
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14
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Trip End Apr 01, 2007


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Flag of Senegal  ,
Monday, October 10, 2005

Hello!

Id like to start this message out by saying that i've never been so cranky in my whole life. For the past five days (today is day six) i have been fasting with my Senegalese family and friends. Ramadan began on the fifth of October and will continue for 30 days. From four thirty in the morning until seven at night I dont drink anything or eat anything. The food isnt the challenge, the water is. I have still been going to my garden which is about a 3.5 km bike ride from my house every morning. I work from seven thirsty-ish (ha ha..that slip was unintentional..tells you where my mind is)until i cant stand the thirst anymore. Today that ended up being just before eleven.

The first couple of days i thought 'no big deal, this fasting stuff is cake' but the reality is that every day gets a little harder. Ive already dropped some weight, because its nearly impossible for me to eat the daily recommended calorie intake in one sitting or even two in the evening when we finally break fast. Especially considering i drink about two and a half liters of water before hitting the sack. But, a HUGE thank you to all of you who have sent things like granola bars and power bars and dried fruit! My secret food stash is my savior becuase its the perfect way to get some of the needed vitamins and minerals that just arent available in the rice and bread for dinner.

Si Allah jabbi (if God allows) I'll make it through the 30 days without getting sick and without strangling someone on the street. Which reminds me..speaking of the street, i've been meaning to mention that everyone in the USA right now should take a moment to appreciate the concept of 'defensive driving'. please do not take this leap in auto-motive opperating for granted. I cannot say how many times in the six months ive been here that i have nearly run someone over on my bike, or been hit by cars (well..ive actually been hit by two cars, but those situations were minor..no harm done) because people just zipped right out in front of me without looking. No one looks. Ever.
where was i going..ah,

I'll continue on the topic of fasting. Many of you who know me well know that I'm fairly stubborn and my pride is a driving force for many of my short term and long term resolutions. I dont have to fast. In fact, no one expects me to do so considering i dont share their religous beliefs. so why do it? Because most people who i tell that im fasting tell me that i cant. one of the most common responses has been 'you have money, you'll see food and buy it.' I have tried to use this experience as a teaching tool to explain that when you decide to do something no matter how hard it is, it becomes possible. What frustrated me about the 'you cant do it' logic is that it was because of the color of my skin, and not my personality. That was five days ago. Now much of my family and neighborhood has told me that im better at fasting than they are..which isnt true,the crankiness is a testimony to that, but the compliment is nice all the same.

The garden is coming along nicely, minus the nightly intrusions of a phantom goat. Seck (My Senegalese counterpart) and i have been planting flowers and trying to prepare for a possible opening day here in Kolda for the locals to come in and look at what we've been up to.

I hope this finds you all healthy and happily enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. I have started to fantasize about snow, something I never would have imagined myself doing seven months ago. Perhaps entering into the 'cool' season where temperatures range from 80 to 100 every day has inspired me to be a little more accepting of the 4 season calandar.
Thank you all for your support and generosity!
Peace
jenny
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Comments

shane
shane on

hi jenny
Hey Jen,

This is Shane, I went to school with you in Orono. I think you are awesome. I really envy you living for twenty seven months in Africa and really seeming to adapt to their way of life. I just got married a week and two days ago. Sorry you couldn't have been there but I understand. Dillworth was there and so was Caitlyn which was really the part I was most happy with. The wedding could not have gone better. It really was perfect. I will send you some pictures and some food, and I won't tell if you eat some of it when you should be fasting. Other than that we are loving our house and I am trying to get into a graduate program in southern maine for education. If all goes well I will have my masters in teaching and be a teacher sometime next year. We (Caitlyn and I) also want to sell our house and move to Unity or the Unity area sometime after that happens. We love it there and can't wait to go back. I think you will really be happy with hippy Shane, this is who I have sort of become since family life. I make soups and fires in our wood stove, walk our dog, and basically love the whole married life. Oh, we got a dog. He is the cutest dog on Earth and his name is Barkley. After the wedding I took Caitlyn's last name being as how I hate my father so now my name is Shane Barker and only by chance our dog ended up as Barkley Barker. Luckily dogs do not generally get referred to by first and last names. Anyway, I am off to sign up to substitute teach at more schools. I hope the fasting goes fast although I imagine despite the name it tends to drag along a bit. But say hi to everyone in Africa for me and dont forget my giraffe.

Ok, take care
Love Shane

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