Things I have learned in training:
-how we will filter and treat our water (bucket filters and chlorine)
-all about malaria and even how to do a blood smear
-all about "Mr. D" aka diarrhea (it WILL happen and many times)
-how to use the bathroom w/out toilet paper, squat and aim better
-basics on how to maintain a mountain bike (we get our bikes tomorrow!!)
-about the different stages of culture shock (it will be a roller coaster of emotions)
-what to do in emergencies (anything from natural disasters to political instability). You can all rest easy now!
-how to eat with my hands around a bowl, sort of...
-basic Water and Sanitation overview and tour :) Learned about the objectives of the WATSAN sector of Peace Corps
-how to conduct a baseline survey in village to assess their level of water and sanitation
-how to wash my own clothes ( I washed my first pants by hand!)
-basic greetings in the main language of Mali, Bambara
-to have a brief conversation in three different languages (Bambara, French, and English)
-never wave, eat, pay for things, or much of anything besides wipe with your left hand
-most Malians don't wash their hands. They believe it will wash away their wealth.
-if you get a pet cat, Malian kids may like to sling shot its' eyes out
-it's not okay to smell your food
-you should not compliment a Malian woman for being pregnant
-the rains and Africa can be wicked (well, I already sort of knew that...)
-posting pictures on PC computers is pretty much impossible...(I will try..)
-plenty of other things but won't bore you with too many other details
1. I'm going to run a marathon in Ghana next September with a few people in my "stage" (PC training class)!!
2. I got a cell phone and will get my number tomorrow. It is free for me if you call me. I don't know what service will be like in my site but while in training it should be good. Look up skype if you are interseted :)
3. There is a girl, Sarah, in my training class that graduated from Purdue the same time as me. We sung Hail Purdue today!! :) Wonder if that has ever been sung in Mali....
We will be leaving for our homestay villages tomorrow morning (so far all the PCTs have been staying in Tubaniso, a training camp outside of Bamako). The homestay villages will also be located outside of Bamako but we are each placed with a seperate Malian family (some with the chiefs of the villages). I am in Soundougouba (Soon-dugu-ba) with most of the other WATSAN volunteers!! We will be there through next Sunday, so no blog postings until then. During homestay we will have intensive language training everyday. I will be learning the most commonly spoken language in Mali...Bambara (no, not French). I'm really excited!