23 June 2008

Hey, we're in Africa!!

Hi everyone! We made it to Africa safely without any problems, although it did require a good deal of patience. Our training group is large (77 to be exact) and anytime you're trying to move a group of people that large across country borders, you can expect there will be a lot of delays.

We are a few days into our Pre-Service Training and things are already getting much more intense. We spend the first 6 days at the Peace Corps training center in Rosso and after that we will be sent out into the community to live and study with our host families. We are adjusting to lots of new things; the heat, squat toilets, eating without utensils, sleeping outside, anti-malaria medication, and attempting to speak in another language.

I am very excited to report that there is a good chance I will be able to focus my Health Education work on maternal/child health and/or labor and delivery. One of our training coordinators said there is a big need for education of lay midwives in many of the villages, specifically regarding the recognition of high risk situations that may require transport to a regional health center. This would be an ideal environment for me!

Here are some things I like about Africa so far:
1. Cold sand in between my toes when I walk around at night.
2. Laying around underneath tents during the afternoon heat.
3. The super clean feeling after showering that you don't really appreciate until you are REALLY dirty, sandy and sweaty.
4. Wearing head scarves and getting them wet to keep my head cool.

Since we will be leaving for our homestay family's home soon, and will be incredibly busy with our language and technical training classes and activities, we will probably not have a chance to post again for quite a while. Know that we are happy and meeting lots of new friends. However, we do really miss you and can't wait to get some mail! Please keep sending us letters as that may be the primary way we have to communicate for a while. Mike and I both purchased Mauritanian cell phones, and if you want those numbers you can find them out from our parents.

I'll try posting pictures soon too!


Brendan said...

Sounds like hygiene is an issue. Better tell Mike to keep that hair in check.

Do you guys, by any chance, hear wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless longing for some solitary company?

Regina said...

Katie - I'm so glad to see your first post from Africa! Thanks for writing that list of things you like; it is a real joy to hear about the little pleasures of being there so far. I miss you and Mike. I know we didn't see each other a lot when you were in KS since I'm in NY, but it's a lot different being a world apart.

lhope26 said...

Yea! I'm so glad you guys made it safe and sound and are having a great time. Cool sand between your toes sounds nice. Keep up the good work!

Will said...

I was going to send you some phone cards to help you guys afford to call us here in the states from Mauritania, but all the phone cards i'm finding are from the US to Mauritania. Do either of you know how to find them going the other direction?