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Tambacounda Travel Blog

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Hello Loved Ones!
Well, my time here has certainly not been without its challenges.  This whole last week feels a bit like a waste since I spent most of it sick with stomach problems.  I couldn't eat for most of it and those of you who know me well know that something REALLY must be wrong in that case!  Last Sunday I began to feel a little off until I had a full blown case of intestinal whatever-the-hell-it-was on Monday and the whole week was about trying to get something in my system that would agree with me.  I had to reject the normal breakfast of baguette bread with butter and chocoleca -chocolate paste for those of you unfamiliar- in lieu of hard boiled eggs and fruit.  Those were the only things I could stomach and the protein from the eggs had to substitute for not being able to stomach the heavy meat dishes here.  Jesse and Matt both took care of me by offering me natural remedies they had brought with them and I'm sure it helped.  I was able to have this pass without taking the heavy antibiotics.  I have stopped drinking the well water though and gone back to only bottled which kind of sucks but I'm not willing to take any more chances at this point. 
Despite a rough week and many challenges aside from just sickness, many things have been learned even if it hasn't been much drum and NO dance....don't be disappointed ladies cause I still have about 2 weeks to pick something up.  There really isn't time nor do I have the words to describe this weeks learning experiences but I'll just give some of the highlights despite the lowlights.  One of the best parts of the week was when about a dozen young girls anywhere between the ages of 5 - 12 wandered into the compound wanting to go through their dance troupe rehearsal because their regular drummer was not there that day.  They have been my best teachers so far and I joked with Abdoulaye about hiring them to come and teach me cause let me tell you, these little girls have it down!  They got a kick out of showing me their moves and then it was time for them to rehearse and they all got into formation and ran through the dance for Dansa just like they would as if they were performing it.  So it was like an impromptu performance from all these little kick-ass girls!  Matt and I tried to snap good pictures but only got a handful of good ones because each time we'd go for the shot, it snapped it always about a millisecond too late and it's hard to time it correctly.  There are some decent ones though that show some pretty good moves.  This happened 2 days in a row on Wednesday and Thursday.  The first day I was completely overwhelmed with little African girl attention because I had a dozen hands to shake and tons of calls of 'tubop tubop' and a lot of speaking to me in languages I don't understand and stroking of my arms and hands and staring like I might suddenly spontaneously combust and you get the idea.  At one point it was all I could do to not get up and run screaming but instead I just dealt with it and understood that I was quite the novelty of the moment.  One girl was funny because she would stroke my hair and then go over to the other girls and stroke theirs as if that would help straighten their own locks like some kind of tubop magic.  Abdoulaye's grandson turned one year old this week and began walking a little bit on the day we arrived and we've been watching him do a little more each day.  Yesterday - Saturday that is - we studied some drum and hung out and it was nice to just be feeling normal again and have an appetite and able to eat.  Two nights in a row I kept having food dreams....why the hell I dreamt of California Pizza Kitchen I have no idea but weird stuff happens when you're hungry I guess.  I also had a dream where I was shoveling M&Ms into my mouth and one of the pups came into my room and woke me and promptly destroyed that dream!  I admit it, I miss food from home!  Don't get me wrong, food here is good but I will never again take for granted all the variety we have in the US.  Friends, eat something good and American for me this week!!  LOL!  Jesse already owes Abdoulaye 2 In-n-out burgers because he keeps losing bets and today he declined going for owing him a 3rd.  Anyway, sorry I couldn't report with more of my cultural learnings but I'll have to find a way to articulate more later on.  Hope all is well with everyone and I'm having a great time but I really miss home...guess that's to be expected with my first time away so long.  Africa is amazing but as Americans we are really so very lucky and so far, that is my biggest lesson so please keep that in mind this week while you're going about your daily routines. 
Much Love to All,
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photo by: leah151