The Heat is back on and Lexi.

I took a trip to my friend Becca’s site this past weekend. It’s a town in the South called Lexaba. It’s beautiful down there, with an abundance of trees and rivers and gardens, the people are more warm and liberal. When Tanya, Becca’s site mate came out to greet me in a tanktop and with her hair down, i secretly thought, until i told her, you suck, you lucky biatch, stupid north with it’s conservative mulaffa wearing people. (more on recent thoughts of this below).  While I was down there, got a tour of the town, the college (middle school), her family’s house with it’s three wives. I also taught an art lesson to her GMC. Her girls were great and all pretty respectful, aside from the huge inccident that happened just before I got there. Apparently, one of the GMC girls stole a cd from the center. Becca did not catch her in the act, but about 7 other girls saw her take it, and then later told Becca about it. When B confronted the girl, Haby, about it, H denied the charges, and presumably lied through her teeth. Becca is going to kick the girl out, once she comes forward and is going to close the center until the cd gets returned. The event might seem insignificant, but it has definitely rocked the town of 3000. Anyway, what I did take away from my trip, aside from having a lot of fun, chilling, and seeing new parts of Mauritania was that I need to adopt a stricter attitude in running the GMC. I will start up a new program once I get back from Dakar, and have shorter sessions, more frequently, but also not let girls get away with missing classes. The way Becca treated the GMC was as a priviledge, a center for outstanding girls, not an extra club on the side, which is what my center unless I change things will become.

Before I continue, I need to add a few words about Zeinabou. She as I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion is an incredible person, even more so because she’s a woman in Mauritania with her points of view, and also because she’s only 21. She runs the journal for the GMC. It’s a newspaper that comes out monthly that she is the editor of. In the journal are articles written by her about society, articles written by teachers or other respected members of the community, and articles written by the girls from the center. Recently, a boy from a newpaper club in Aleg said he wanted to write in our newspaper because it was better than the one from his club. She has also recently told me about a project she wants to go through with that would form a coed coalition between the groups because right now the clubs, there are 6 in Aleg, made up and run by all young people, are divided into male and female clubs. There is also another president of a club who wanted to do joint activities between all the clubs and even put on events for Aleg that would include coed sketches on current events and important issues. When she told me all these ideas I just got so excited for her. I am constnantly being blown away by her. It’s times like these that makeme wonder how I can help, when there are already all these Mauritanians willing to forge forward without any PC motivation. I remember always thinking before I came here that I would definitely learn more than I would teach to the people here, and I think this is exactly one of those moments, where I can be part of the process, but not the complete push behind it. There was another time when Z told me that for the journal she wanted to give the option of either paying 100UM for it, or contributing an idea instead of payment. I still think about this instant all the time, knowing that my mentor realizes that the exchange of ideas is more powerful and valuable than the buying or selling of a product. Anyway, I’ll be sure to keep this blog posted with updates of this new project.

On another perhaps more sour note, I was accused of being the equivalent of a whore yesterday by a man who visits my family sometimes. He didn’t say that exactly, but conveyed that message in so many words. Z would always half joke with me that if Iwalked around at night, or rather past when the sun when down, even if I was just walking home, people would frown down on that. I said, ok that’s fine, but I’m free to do what I want. I would rather be able to eat dinner with my friends, Mauritanian and American, than be concerned with some people’s stupid opinions. But yesterday, when this man said, I didn’t go to Lexaba, that I went to go stay with a man, I just lost it and got so pissed. At first I was thinking, well I do have a center for girls, I do need to be concerned with my rep up to a certain point, so I’ll stop going for example to Z’s for dinner and Hassaniya lessons, but after having a chat with Ash about it during our run this morning, she made me realize, fuck it. People are always going to have an opinion, and the people who know me will know better than to think this of me. I knew this, but it is still so easy to get lost in remembering who you are here because there is just so much overwhelming pressure to assimilate, and often times, right away, that is easier because people will like you just off the bat, but i don’t think that’s worth it. I mean, I guess in the states, some sense of that same pressure exists, but it’s not so blatantly obvious like it is here. Anyway, I delved kinda deep in this entry, but that’s been my life as of late.

I’m going to bring it back up a notch and say thanks to Potzi, Desiree, Elana, Cheryl and my Aunt Mary for my recent packages and letters. Life is so much sweeter because of all of you, who read and comment and show the love.

Adios

xo amanda

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3 Responses to “The Heat is back on and Lexi.”

  1. P. Harper Dillon Says:

    Hi Amanda, I’ve responded here that I’ve (finally) posted the translation of your Obamarama blog entry because you might not be looking back to see if comments have been added to a previous post. Pass it along if you can

    Your English is challenging to translate.

    I’ve been mainly occupied with making videos (filming and editing myself) for Nora’s Scultpture in Rock Workshop. I,m going to put some of the clips up on face book and will let you know. This year it’s a big deal, big scultures in a large plaza/park in one of the newer neighbordhoods on the hills you can see from my living room, to the left of the Mirador.

    Well more later, check out the translation in replies to previous ./

    Lots of love,

    Dad

  2. P. Harper Dillon Says:

    Amanda,

    It’s 12:42 in Ayacucho. it’s been rainy and cloudy today so it’s a little chilly, Miles is in one of the window plants, disguised perfectly except for abstracting eyes. Although I responded previously, I just read this entry about Zeinabou and the force of opinion — wow, powerful stuff!!!!

    Uh oh, the window plant’s shaking, Miles is staring me down. (should I go grab Miles and put him in his cage even though he’ll make me chase him all around the room?)

    I’ll be in touch —

    Had a long chat with Potzi L. — interesting.

    Dad

  3. Desiree Says:

    Yeah girl! You be who you are and be strong! : )

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