Another one bites the dust

Today was SOO windy. The sound actually woke me up in the middle of the night because I coulda sworn a tornado was coming. (I have never actually been in a tornado, so the way it sounded may or may not accurately resemble tornado noises). Regardless, as soon as I looked out my window, the fact that I could only see to the end of my front yard, because of all the dirt flying through the air should mean something. Literally within minutes of my window being open, there were at least a couple cm’s of dust on everything in my room. As I type this, my fingers are getting dirty from the leftover sand from today. As I walked into different shops, everything inside was tinged brown.

*     *     *     *     *

Yesterday, I spent my morning at the PC bureau, since Sunday mornings are my window of office hours. Right as I was getting ready to pick up and leave at about noon, a man walked in named Mustafa. He came and sat down, and asked if I knew whether one of the other volunteers from my region was around, and I said I hadn’t seen him. I thought he would have left at this point, but instead he took a seat and started talking to me.

I need to add in here, that as a rule of thumb, if a man in this country is being nice to you, 99% of the time, it’s because he wants to marry you. I am dead serious about this. I’d say half of the time, within the first 5 minutes, you have a proposal. I can even recall times when men have been driving by and then specifically pulled over to see whether I’d accept them as my husband. Being here for now more than eight months, I’ve learned to shrug this off . Sometimes even your Mauritanian girl friends will try to marry you off, or at least ask whether you will marry a Mauritanian. I always just tell them: Nduur laa rajel zany we maloom, maakadili ilayn huwe bilani wella amerikiye, laay mitkhayme ma-huwe, yeghrayr, aana maa gat arayt rajel kiiv dhaak. All I’m looking for is good and generous man, it doesn’t matter if he’s Mauritanian or American, I will marry him, but I haven’t yet found a man like that. They love this answer and usually crack up and do the typical clap/grab your hand as you laugh together. Other times, another tactic I use is to tell the person I already have four husbands. This is the max you are allowed to have, and so that they are too late because my quota has already been reached.

Anyway, back to Mustafa. He told me, he wanted to help PC in Aleg, he wanted to volunteer and do sensibilizations for us. I told him that I would write his name down, and let the other volunteers know about him as a resource. After this conversation, he stayed some more. He started telling me about his background; he’s originally from Burkino Faso, he’s a civil engineer, and has the proper certificates to work in a Library. Finally, right before I was going to cut him off to tell him, I had to leave because I had a work meeting, he said, ok, one last question: How does a man, say from Africa, get an American woman to marry him? He asked me very nonchalantly, as if asking more for advice as opposed to, oh say, my own hand in marrige, but the whole time, it still came off very transparent to me. I simply told him, the same way you get any woman to marry you: get her to like you. With that, I told him, I had to lock up, and he thanked me for my advice, and I thanked him for his willingness to help us with work here.


3 Responses to “Another one bites the dust”

  1. americaninparis42 Says:

    So, are you planning on getting married and staying there forever? 🙂

    Ok, seriously, that is kind of funny. I thought European men were bad when they hit on you on the streets, but I have never have a random proposal. Oh cultural differences, got to love it.

    I am in the process of trying to go back to graduate school and get my masters in International Relations. I need to have a job where I use my brain more than I am. There are two schools in Paris for the program I want, but I will also be applying to the US as well and see what my options are. I think I’ll be in Paris until at least 2010, and then after that who knows.

    Thank you for kind words as well. Between my dad’s friend dying/ how he died/ my dad going to the same hospital next month / me being in Paris, it is a lot to process. It’s weird when you are living in one world and having your emotions come from another, if that makes sense. It does help to hear from friends, so really, thank you.

    I am really proud of all that you are accomplishing. Seriously, I read your posts and I am like “Wow, Dillon is awesome.” I hope your programs are going well and I am sure you are making a huge difference in the lives of these girls. Anyways, I do hope to see you in the somewhat near future. That invitation for you to come to Paris is still open so please let me know if you want a mini vacation. Keep in touch, a bientot!

  2. Mike Says:

    How funny!! You better not get married over there! We can not send a cake that far!!

  3. Elana Says:

    I think this is the best post yet. glad you survived the tornado and all of those marriage proposals. I hope you find a kind loving man someday to 🙂

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