So this is going to be a super fast update since I need to get back on transport to pick up my bike and bike 70k back to village. I will be back on Thanksgiving to have dinner at the U.S. Ambassador's house (Delicious but not as good as America).
Here are some things I have been up to:
-termites ate a hole in my nice mattress and otherwise invaded
-termites were followed by bats. One dive bombed me and I ran screaming from my house. My host dad killed 3 by literally picking up and throwing on the ground. Malians apparently aren't that scared of bats but are really afraid of frogs.
-I have a cat now...In Bamabara to say you like something and want something is the same thing so...someone showed up with a cat for me one day and I didn't refuse. Just my luck it is more annoying than my grandma's cat snickers but looks like my Aunt Lisa's cat, Manard
-I have cooked several dishes for myself that weren't half bad and made Guava Jam
-attended a traditinal ceremony at night in my village with men dressed in animal skins doing Circus Soleil caliber moves
-shelled countless peanuts, beans, and corn (engineering degree is coming into good use)
-went to the fields a few times and harvested peanuts
-ate mayo, jam, and kool-aid powder plain....
-ate the fried whole fish at market and liked it...
-eaten countless meals of To and beans and actually started to like the beans
-planted some Miranga trees
-conducted hand washing sessions at the school that actually went pretty well and teaching them how to filter and treat water tomorrow
-learned more Bambara...
-Finished all the baseline water and sanitation surveys, analyzed the data, wrote a report, and translated it into Bambara
-Have had countless glasses of tea and have actually started liking it and learning to make it
-Got lost on my first bike ride back from Kati (70k) and almost got stuck sleeping outside but was miraculously rescued by PC transport
-wrote and sent lots of letters
-stalked by a 19 year old boy that has now become the younger brother I never had
-attended many funerals and am witnessing the hardship that families go through when members are stick
-saw a day old baby
-have put in a lot of miles, run 6 days a week
-ran my first two hash runs in Bamako with some amazing views and met some amazing people from all over the world that have been all over the world and have committed their life to service
Alright that is a pretty good summary of things so far...I may expand later and I'm sure there are many things I forgot.
On the right hand side I put a wish list in case you are interested in sending anything but again, letters more than suffice.
Also my sitemate and his girlfriend have two projects in their villages that need funding. If you are feeling in the Holiday giving mood this is a great opportunity to do so. Here are the links to their projects where you can donate online and read more about them. I will have similar projects in the early spring that you will be able to donate to as well.
Women's Fabric and Dye Shop
Shea Butter Production Building
Thank you so much for your continued support, letters, e-mails, phone calls, and packages. It really means a lot. I am happy here but do miss family and friends. I have also be relatively healthy ::knock on wood:: Keep the letters coming. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you had a Happy Halloween!