Thursday, March 6, 2008


Jessica and all of the other trainees went on a "demystification weekend," spending a few nights with a volunteer at their home site. The volunteer kindly loaned Jessica the use of her phone. This letter was written a few days after that conversation:

Hello again!
Can you believe that this is the 1st real chance I've had to write to you in days?They keep us busy here--it's a bit much, really. But it's okay. I'm learning a lot, most of the time, until I get too full of new words that my brain drops everything. The big news is= I got to talk to you! That was SO cool-- I was exhilarated for hours. I'm so glad you were home! It surprised me that I didn't cry the minute I heard your voices--it was just so wonderful that I could just smile. Interestingly enough, 21/2 hours after our conversation, at 11:30 PM I was visited by my second bout of bacteria, which was much worse in terms of volume than my 1st time. After 9 hours on the squat latrine, a Peace Corps "ambulance" picked me up & took me to the regional hostel where I got more meds. And now I'm fine! Peachy. Did you know that Niger has the highest rate of diarrhea among PCVs in the world? Shiiiit...they should tell you these things before you sign up...
Also: after demyst I returned to Hamdallye to find that the skinny guard dog that my family owns was PREGNANT!! She had 3 puppies over the weekend. There is just one now--I didn't ask too many questions, but I since learned that the other two were killed by my host dad, presumably because they're too expensive to feed . There is no extra food around here--I'm amazed they even let the pup live. If my language gets good enough soon, I'll try to find out what their plan is--because it's all so serendipitous that I should overlap with a puppy. Really. Alright it's bedtime. (p.s. Please tell Grandpa HAPPY BIRTHDAY when you get this, even though it'll be weeks late. 90!!)

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