Hello again! I'm back in Atar for a couple of days, and I have been writing lots of posts at site, but unfortunately, coming into town was a little last minute and I forgot to bring the files in. So, you'll have to wait a little longer for all of the wonderfully random thoughts that have been accumulating over the past few weeks. I just wanted to say hi and give a quick update.
The end of the month marks the end of Ramadan and the end of the routine I have finally established at site. Ramadan is a month of fasting during daylight hours, which effects Mauritanians' entire daily routine. They wake up (and, by default, I wake up) around 4:30 with the first call to prayer. They eat a meal before the sun rises, then go back to sleep. Any work that gets done during this month is done in the morning, before people start to get too cranky and tired. The afternoons are usually spent lounging/napping. At 7:00, they break fast, then stay up for most of the rest of the night, taking advantage of the nighttime to eat good food and enjoy not being hungry. Rinse and repeat.
At the end of Ramadan, there's a huge party. I'll be back in my village, and a friend is coming with me, so it should be a lot of fun. After that, I'll hopefully get to start working in earnest, which will mean a whole new routine for me.
So much change in such a short period of time! It's been a good month, considering. Obviously, I've had my ups and downs, but I've settled in, both materially and mentally. These first few months are supposedly the toughest for a new volunteer. While I can't say I've been consistently happy since I got to site, I've never been unhappy, and I've definitely never regretted my decision to do this. And I've been making friends, which make a world of difference. For the toughest month of service, that's not bad!
I know this post is a little vague and obviously not the insight into Mauritanian life I promised a couple of weeks ago, but like I said, you'll get lots of fun details next time I come into town.