July 30, 2005: Headlines: COS - Mauritania: Blogs - Mauritania: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Alicia in Mauritania: What am I doing here?

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mauritania: Peace Corps Mauritania : The Peace Corps in Mauritania: July 30, 2005: Headlines: COS - Mauritania: Blogs - Mauritania: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Alicia in Mauritania: What am I doing here?

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Peace Corps Volunteer Alicia in Mauritania: What am I doing here?

Peace Corps Volunteer Alicia in Mauritania:  What am I doing here?

For those of you who have no idea what I am doing in the Peace Corps, I am going to give a little background. I am an Agro-Forestry Volunteer in West Africa in a country called Mauritania, that no one has ever heard of, including myself.

Peace Corps Volunteer Alicia in Mauritania: What am I doing here?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

What am I doing here?

For those of you who have no idea what I am doing in the Peace Corps, I am going to give a little background. I am an Agro-Forestry Volunteer in West Africa in a country called Mauritania, that no one has ever heard of, including myself. Honestly, before I came here, I had no clue the country even existed. Anyway, now I know the country a little too well!

Mauritania is mostly all desert. Up until a month ago, it was the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and now apparently it is Democratric, but that seems to make no difference in this country. There are three main ethnic groups in this country, the White Moors, the Black Moors, and the Black Africans. None of these ethnic groups particularly like each other, but they tolerate each other. This country is 99.9% muslim, which at times makes it very difficult to live here. It is very strict here. There is no alcohol here, it is against the law for Mauritanians to be in possession of alcohol. Women are required to cover themselves from head to toe. Their faces do not have to be covered, but their heads should be. I do not have to cover my head, but I do out of respect and because it makes me feel more comfortable.

I lucked out with my site which is in the south of Mauritania, along the Senegalese River. I live in a black African group called Pulaars. The other two african groups are Wolof and Soninke. Living with the black africans is a joy because they are much more laid back and not as stiff as the moors. I still have to watch everything I do, but if I make a mistake, the Pulaars understand and we just laugh it off together.

I live in a Pulaar village called Thienel, that has a population of about 1500 people. I live in a mud brick room in a family compound. I have absolutely no privacy at all. That kind of sucks, but I am getting used to it. I eat all my meals with my family. Most of my meals consist of lots of rice, a little bit of fish and a small amount of vegetables. At all meals, my family and I crowd around a communal bowl, wash our hands with water (if I am lucky there is soap), and then dig in using only our right hand. I do not mind eating with my right hand. You have to learn to be quick though or else your family will get all the good stuff!

Ok, well, I'll save the rest for next time!





When this story was posted in July 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

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Special Events for RPCVs Date: July 13 2005 No: 683 Special Events for RPCVs
Join the NPCA in DC for Advocacy Day on July 28
NPCA to hold Virtual Leaders Forum on July 29
RPCV's "Taking the Early Bus" at Cal State until Aug 15
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October

July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: July 17 2005 No: 690 July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
C. Payne Lucas writes "Can we win the war on HIV/Aids?" 11 July
Director Vasquez hints at expansion in Bangladesh 17 July
Why didn't I spend my life helping others? 17 July
John Beasley returns to the islands of Micronesia 17 July
Jennifer Field to study glacier melting 17 July
Tucker McCravy works with Serendib in Sri Lanka 17 July
David Vick writes "Waging civilized warfare" 16 July
Tom Petri says Nelson helped to promote civility 16 July
Peace Corps Director Visits Volunteers in Mongolia 15 July
John Bridgeland writes "An example for Boomers" 15 July
Robert Blackwill says India and US have a great future 15 July
Peace Corps debuts new internet recruitment tool 14 July
Eight New Country Directors Appointed 13 July
Shelton Johnson Honored for Buffalo Soldier program 13 July
Bill Lorenz leads trek for Sudanese refugees 12 July
Emilie Pryor says Peace Corps ignores Lariam problems 12 July
DDN is Award Finalist for reporting on PC Safety 11 July
Randy Lewis to hire 200 people with cognitive disabilities 10 July
Maryland needs people like Tom Lewis 10 July
Dan DeWayne puts on music festival 10 July

July 9, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: July 9 2005 No: 675 July 9, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Mike Honda says Democratic Party in paradigm shift 6 July
Peace Corps Suspends Program in Gabon 8 July
Thomas Tighe says Thailand is faring better 8 July
Michael Parmly appointed top diplomat in Cuba 7 July
Paul Timmreck got his start trailing garbage trucks 7 July
Shays says London explosions should be wakeup call 7 July
Tom Murphy says: Be Vigilant, But Not Afraid 7 July
Gov. Doyle saddened and outraged by London Attacks 7 July
RPCV Films organizing Film Festival 6 July
Terez Rose writes Aid for Africa Will the G8 Help? 6 July
Carl Youngberg takes ballet to Honduras 6 July
Kafatia faces a mandatory eight years in prison 6 July
Bill Moyers says LBJ hated FOIA law 6 July
Andy and Trudy Anderson work with The Hunger Project 5 July
Thomas A. Dine deplores the attack against reporter 5 July
Mime Troupe tackles history, politics and the World Bank 4 July
Francis Mandanici says investigation could lead to impeachment 4 July
Beth Bedinotti says motherhood is "toughest job" 1 July
Director Vasquez Visits Volunteers in Eastern Caribbean 1 July

July 8, 2005: PC suspends program in Gabon Date: July 10 2005 No: 679 July 8, 2005: PC suspends program in Gabon
Peace Corps announced the suspension of the program in Gabon citing the high cost of the program. In addition, a 2003 Inspector General report documented safety and security costs of $1 million that would be necessary to keep the program operating successfully. Background: In 1998 Peace Corps Volunteer Karen Phillips was was found murdered in the weeds about 100 yards from her home in Oyem, Gabon. Her killer has never been brought to justice.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mauritania; Blogs - Mauritania

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