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.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A tragic defeat

I apologize to my country and to anyone I have ever played volleyball with for what was probably the most embarrassing athletic defeat in a lifetime of embarrassing athletic defeats. In the first ever volleyball game in the history of Gnimlane (small village outside my site of Tdjikja) the American team lost to the Mauritanian team 3 games to 1. At the request of the Gnimlane’s physical education teacher we played this game so his students could watch and see how the game of volleyball was meant to be played. It turns out that we got the lesson in front of a crowd of probably around 100 people.

Just 25 kilometers (15 miles) away Gnimlane is a very different place than Tdjikja. I think one of the things that make it the most different is that most people in Tdjikja have television or at least the opportunity to watch television semi-regularly. In the absence of computers and newspapers, TV is an significant window to the world. The average Tdjikja high school student follows international soccer and can name the starting 11 for most major European clubs. In Gnimlane the teacher, introducing physical education, asked his students if they could name any professional soccer players. They all said Ronaldinho and that they knew him because he was on the back of some of their friends jerseys by virtue of the second-hand clothes market which makes up a good portion of a young Mauritanians wardrobe. He asked them where Ronaldinho was from and they said Brazil. He asked where Brazil was and they all thought it was a neighborhood in Mauritania.

In other culinary news, lunch the other day included goat eyes and brain and so now I can say that I am a person who has eaten both goat eyes and goat brain. The brain tasted like tuna. They told me that eating the brain would make me smarter. I am not sure about that but I do know that something gave me diarrhea. I am also not sure if they were implying that a goat was smarter than me and that if I ate the brain I might catch up.


Anonymous Raizza said...

I probably haven't seen you since high school. but I am in awe. Seth, this is incredible. you've experienced a lot of things that noone here would experience. wish I'd done Peacecorps. safe travels.

March 27, 2009 at 4:04 PM  

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