Peace Corps Part deux: Moroccan Nights

Mandatory Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or people, the Mauritanian government or people, or the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elementary answers

Recently, I answered a bunch of questions from an Elementary school class in America. The general answers to some of the questions may be interesting or useful for understanding some things about Mauritania. As always if you have any other questions please ask and I will do my best to answer in more detail. I could go on about any of these topics for several pages so these are just some basic oversimplified answers

I drink a lot of tea. People drink tea here in sets of three and I drink two or three sets a day. So I Drink 6 or 9 1 ounce cups of tea every day.


There are 5 languages spoken in the entire country but in Tdjikja my city there are only two languages spoken: Hassiniya and French. Hassiniya is an oral language which means there is no alphabet and the language has never been written down. Since there are 5 languages in Mauritania it makes governing the country very difficult because everything (TV, documents, textbooks) must be translated.

In Mauritania the money is called Ougiya. 230 Mauritanian Ougiya = 1 American dollar.

In Tdjikja nobody has any computers in there house because they are too expensive. There is an internet café where you can pay to use a computer for an hour or two. However, most people don’t know how to use computers.

I really like the food here. Most days I eat a piece of bread for breakfast, then a big bowl of rice, goat meat and cooked vegetables for lunch and cous-cous and goat meat for dinner. Usually the men and the women eat from different bowls.

There are TV’s here but only some people have them and nobody has more than one for their house. People here watch too much TV just like in America.

My job is to do environmental education in two elementary schools and teach children about, trees, gardening and environmental problems such as desertification.

There are a lot of different games here. The most common game is soccer but also people play a game where they throw 8 sticks on the ground at the same time and see how many land facing the same way. That game is very complicated and I don’t yet completely understand it.

Most people put mattresses called a “matella” on the ground and sleep on their matella inside their houses. If it is really hot they will sleep on their mattress on another mat outside in their yard.


Blogger ArchitectureAli said...

Herrroooo :)

So this is Alicia, the ladies in Tidjikja called me Aicha during my days there. You may or may not have heard of me. Sorry about the stalker vibes...Kind of a crazy note, I had this weird case of longing for the sands of Mauritania (Crazy as HELL I KNOW) and I wanted to see how everyone was doing in the old place that I used to call home. I think someone wrote me and asked if I had any info on the cooperatives. Unfortunately I was so swamped with Grad School that I never got around to finding it. I will get on it, because I know that I have it, its just within my 300 some odd files on my external hard drive. It seems like you're doin' alright considering everything that the city is. I trust everyone is still doing the same or at least well...Bah and his numerous kids, Nice Mouhamid and his boutique, the GMC ladies, is crazy black boubou man still around?

Anyway, enough from me, keep writing, I do enjoy reading your posts!

Ciao and Masallam Hattah

January 5, 2009 at 1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mad Dog,

It's Kaplan. I was just checking out your blog. Sounds like Mauritania is not entirely the desert wasteland of boredom that book of yours made it out to be. I believe there was something in it about "don't ever go here unless you really like sand." I'm happy to see that you've got frisbee going there as well. Show'em the picture of you tossing the disc with Bill Nye the Science Guy, and watch the jaws drop. They'll be hooked after that. Good to hear you're doing well and enjoying yourself.


January 8, 2009 at 8:50 PM  

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