Aleg Up

My friend Jose sent me a link to an art show he went to this past weekend, and looking at the pictures, I miss it and that life that defined the Cali environment I left back at home. I still miss it at this point. I am really really missing art at this point in my service, and I can’t wait till I’m affectated so that I can set up a place that’s more permanent. I’ve also been thinking about certain ideas I want to explore while I’m here in my art, and right now, I know whatever it is will start off by stemming in ugly dismal settings, I know that might seem odd, but I’m thinking imaging the wildest make-believe backgrounds for what I draw/paint. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some on here.

and now the drum roll…………………….

my permanent site is: Aleg. It has a lot of great qualities, and in fact if I put them all down on paper, would be a top match for what I was looking for in a site. I just wished a city that fit all those qualifications wasn’t Aleg–in terms of appearance. It’s a very very bland looking town, and personally, environment is really really important to me because I think I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful places everrr:

  • Florence, Italy
  • Pasadena, California
  • beachfront in Newport beach, southern California
  • redwood country, northern California

but I guess I just have to remind myself of these pros:


  • fun site mates
  • good work environment-all the local officials are stoked to have us there
  • hardworking, yet really fun and nice and funny counterpart
  • best bbq in Mauritania
  • in the center of Mauritania, so it’s easy to travel and visit anyone!
  • close to Nouakchott, so if I really need a break, the beach is only 3 hours away
  • running water, electricity, internet, and great cell service
  • lots of opportunities to pursue artistic ventures with the locals

This past week was and wasn’t eventful. I got deathly ill (coming out of both ends) for 24+ hours [I apologize in advance to any people I offend by talking about bowel movements, but among us here, it is a subject that is most certainly not taboo], I ate tacos!!! drank club 7(a fine Senegalese beverage) and coke, ate more great non-Mauritanian food (let me tell you how fast maro wil huut [fish and mostly rice] can get old, um, really really fast) which included chocolate chip cookies and brownies, BAKED!–with Janna and created a Mauritanian original twist on the traditional cupcake we dubbed “cakies,” I was very very excited to see that oven at the regional house in Aleg. But, honestly what excites me most about my site is starting work!!! even though we’ll have to wait pretty much till Ramadan ends, because no one likes to work in Mauritania while they are fasting. Makes sense. I don’t know who I’ll live with when I get there, but I’m hoping to use the downtime of September to find a family that will let me cook for myself, other than that, I have pictures to post, and might, if the internet speeds up, or if I wait for everyone to fall asleep so that the bandwidth isn’t full.

Oh yah, I’ve decided to publicly respond to comments people leave me at the end of each post, so here it goes:

Elana-thanks for the constant comments, I don’t know if you still have any interest in visiting, but I would absolutely LOVE to have you

Dwight-Yayyy, I got your package already, and your really nice letter, now it’s my turn to write back. I felt uber special to get it so you should know you made my day all the way over in Africa

Mike-I’ll be keeping my eye open for protein bars, I can’t wait and I miss you and Phyl a ton and constantly wonder what’s the latest flick you guys saw 😉

Dad-on the note of accents, by all the Zuaynes I get—meaning cute in Hassaniya, I guess my smile is getting me farther with Mauritanians than any word I could attempt to utter

Diane-How I would kill to eat a plum right now. The fruit diversity here consists of Mangos. Oh yah, and occasionally you can buy an expensive apple or banana. I’m glad to hear the Italian goes on, Hassaniya, the new language I’m trying my hardest not to sound like a fool in is nothing like Italian, or any romance language for that matter.

Andrew-Yay! I’m so glad you found me to. I was majorly bummed after not seeing you after our turtle racing fiasco. Fine, you don’t have to visit me in Africa, but you might have to host me in Hawaii, cause I am going to NEED a pretty place to relax in after this.

Large Low Fat Latte Ann-I’m finally getting back to you. I am so bummed we didn’t cross paths before I left either. I’m really happy to hear you were able to indulge in some patticake chocolately goodness for Peter’s grad. Can you put my email on the list serv that Jake sends his emails to, I would love to hear his stories as well, I’m sure his world is just as different as mine.

To all others who commented, if you aren’t addressed here it’s because some other form of contact whether personal or otherwise has been made. 😉

And thank you sooo much for all the comments and packages and letters that have been sent. This, honestly despite my optimism, can be pretty dismal and tough and hot at times, so all the love helps more than you all can imagine.


2 Responses to “Aleg Up”

  1. Dwight Dillon Says:

    Thanks for the call!!! I got your message but I don’t have your number. Im’ gonna buy some time on Skype to call you so let me know what number I can reach you at.

    Love Ya,


  2. Elana Says:

    Amanda! Thanks for the sweet comment, also let me know when you receive my package i really hope it makes it I sent it a decade ago (i followed all of your tips) so I do hope it gets there. I am excited you got your site, i am going to google it to learn more 🙂 take care, love you!

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