so, as some of you are aware, there've been some bigbig, fast changes a'happenin' round here lately. the short of it all is that i was given a call last week from peace corps staff saying that i had to be in the capital, nouakchott, two days later. considering i still thought i had another three days in the village and five in kaedi, my regional capital, this took me as quite a shock. turns out pc washington needs to do a "security check" wherein the volunteers consolodate to the capital, then the first year volunteers will go to senegal for a ten day conference of sorts while pc tours the country. it was just bad timing with my plans to cos (close of service) on august 6hth. i went home, told the family, and bless their hearts, the goat was slaughtered and ready to be cooked within the hour.
i was pretty upset to have to hurry my goodbyes with my friends and family, the ones that i've lived and worked with for the last two years. but goodbyes aren't a huge deal here really. people know that God works in mysterious ways, and that, as hawa says "l'homme propose et dieu dispose" (man makes proposals, but God has the final say). sometimes things just happen that are out of our control. and this is one of those things.
so i gathered up my friends, they came to my house, and we spent one last night laying out on mats, chatting about this and that and work and friends. it was chill, and really nice. the food was delicious (picture banaf as like a really good potroast, minus the carrots. the meat melts in your mouth... and to think i used to be a vegetarian!) as they left around 11:30pm we said our goodbyes. when you're not sure the next time you're going to see someone, you say "ada yarlo, ada yafo" which pretty much translates to "forgive me and pardon me". since live is so unpredictable, anything can happen. you would never want to leave someone upset, or holding on to grudges. so when you say it, the other person says "amin" (=amen) like, "of course i forgive you" and then you say it to them. it has a way of dissolving any bad feelings between people. it's great.
we all said it and hugged, and they walked off. i brushed my teeth, set up my net like any other night. i went to my family and said, "goodnight everybody" and my three moms walked me to my net to put me to bed. "ndeysan," (goodness) they'd say, "you're leaving tomorrow morning? oh nouma if you leave us we will be lonely." "me more," i said.
i called hayley and cried. though the rush was so hard, i felt so good. what an amazing experience.
the next morning we loaded my bags onto the horse cart and the entire family walked me to the door. dad, mom (mariem), gogo (ramata), yaiy (maimouna), mama, djiby, abou, amadou, abdouleye, binta, fama, babalou, and of course amna. and when i went to shake my mom's hand, she put out her left hand. doing anything with the left hand is considered pretty wrong here, you would never do that. but in a case like this, it means "we know you're going away, probably for a long time. i'm going to shake your hand the wrong way so that you'll have to come back to rectify it."
the sunglasses were a good choice.
i hopped on the cart and turned back as we rode off, my whole family still at the door, waving. i left the village.
so allah jabbi, mi artat. so allah jabbi.