|Dreams are the Seeds of Change|
|Building a Soak Pit for proper water drainage |
(standing/open water may cause the breeding of mosquitoes that may carry Malaria - eeek!)
The community I live in is a traditional Wolof (Fana Fana) community. They are known for their eccentric dancing, proper language without English influence (meaning no English words are randomly thrown in, like I hear in the cities), rich culture and faith, and I hate to say it but... stubborn minds! I wish I could put it in a different light, but it seems like they just don't want to budge when certain opportunities come to "progress" the community, further development, or even implement essential elements of change that will better the well-being of the community members.
|Traditional Wolof Wedding - they LOVE to dance, even late into the night!|
|Hand washing demonstration|
|I recently learned how to make soap!|
Back to the main point - even if people gain the knowledge of disease transmission and prevention, the Fana Fanas (or any tribe) still may decide that hand washing isn't worth buying/making soap or a kettle for running water, or taking the time to teach their family to wash their hands because they still believe that someone put a curse on their family, an evil spirit entered their body to make them sick, or it was an act of God. So, my challenge is, how can I properly introduce change while trying to preserve the culture, traditions and strong faith, that the Fana Fanas are known for and are so proud of? It's a tough one. And this is just HAND WASHING! Imagine when I try to educate my village on birth spacing/birth control/family planning, or any other ideas that may "challenge" the Islamic faith.
|Crafting JuJu charms that are made to |
ward off evil spirits, prevent disease, or even prevent KNIFE PENETRATION;
usually made with animal bones and Quranic scripture
So all in all, I'm on the up and up, slowly slowly. The Gambia has a proverb "Ndanka Ndanka mooy jappa golo ci alle bi" which translates from Wolof to "Slowly Slowly catches the monkey in the bush"... it's pretty much the motto of every Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia. It means SLOW THE HELL DOWN!! Progress takes time and patience. You can't grow a tree overnight.
|... just a cute monkey!|