Saturday, June 12, 2010


>> Hi! We made the long bus ride from Freetown to Bo after having spent four (five?) nights in the Stadium Hostel. The Stadium Hostel is the hotel that is next door to the National Stadium of Sierra Leone. Yes, the NATIONAL Stadium. We played frisbee on it. It was nice to get out of Freetown simply because with our lack of Krio language skills and general American-ness, we would be easy targets in the city and so we were not allowed to leave the compound.

Bo is wonderful.
A typical dinner consists of rice and a sort of sauce. Last night was rice with a fish sauce, and the night before was rice with a beef sauce. Breakfast, after I suggested to Sitta that I'd rather a smaller rather than larger breakfast, has shrunk to eggs and fresh potatoes today, plantains yesterday, etc. absolutely delicious. If you're wondering as to whether my body has been able to adjust to the new foods, the answer is yes. Our nurse gave a long discussion on diahhrea to all the Peace Corps volunteers but no concerns just yet.
My family (the Gandies) are incredibly caring. The mother's name is Sitta and the father's name is Aruna and they named me Joe Gandie after their first-born son. Unlike some of the other homestay parents, they allow me to be independent, decide when to go to bed, decide what I want for meals, and let me make some decisions. Other Peace Corps Volunteers have felt rather stifled in this regard. I think I just got lucky. Our house does not have electricity nor running water, which means that by about 8 PM the house is pretty dark and I'm heading to bed to read via my dynamo-powered light or to listen to music while my electronics still have charge :)
Classes have been pretty straight-forward. We learn from about 8-5 everyday with a few short breaks and a long lunch break. At this time, people usually rehydrate and nap and try to stay healthy. There are a lot of budding friendships although some people are beginning to show their true colors now that they really are 'in the thick of it.'
I'll close here. So far, Sierra Leone has been welcoming and yet incredibly exhausting. I find myself constantly sweating but smiling. These people have a LOVE for music, for dancing, for praise and love, something I can definitely get behind (PLUR)
I love and miss you all :)


  1. Glad to see things are going well so far. Sounds like you have a great place to stay and are surrounded by nice people. As far as the sweating goes, I can definitely relate to that. Down here in Florida, it's usually over 90 degrees and very humid. Keep us updated when you can. I know I miss you already!

  2. Yaaaay!! I'm glad to hear your family is so kind and caring. Gotta say I'm quite relieved. Since people there love music so much, have you been able to influence them with your thumping beats yet? :) I love and miss you, of course!

  3. Shit in a hole yet?

    That sounds great! What do you do when you're not teaching? It's also nice to see that people queen out in africa just like in every other place.

    Also, is there any house music that really resonates with them?

  4. Sounds wonderful!! I'm glad your "family" is treating you well and keeping you happy/full. Keep an open mind to your Peace Corp buddies- it's a big transition, some people don't deal with change as well.

  5. Have you tried to get your solar charger going?

  6. Hi Bryan!

    Testing out my e-mail.

  7. Bryan,

    Great reading your posts. Sounds like you are already having an amazing experience. We had frost just the other night.


  8. Hi Bryan! I was there (RPCV) 88-90. Must admit I am a little jealous...
    The sauce is PLASAS. :)
    It takes quite awhile to adjust to the heat. 3-6 months you won't sweat as much (your blood will thin).
    The people are amazing.
    Have a beautiful time. You will never forget it.
    The best advice I ever had was "when it is really tough and you feel like quitting, give it 3 months. If you still feel the same in 3 months, then it is time to go."
    Best job you'll ever love...
    Big hug,

  9. I'm excited to hear about the solar charger. When your father mentioned the two-suitcase deal, I suggested you skip all electronics and bring food! I guess that says more about my previous experiences around the world than the reality of Peace Corps living today. Stay well and keep smiling - the most important work you can do is bring joy and understanding to your people in Sierra Leone.

  10. Happy to hear that things are going well and that you're assimilating with the family. I can empathize with the hot weather -- I went from the 30s in Yellowstone to the 90s in Utah and the change was painful -- surely you'll adapt. Well either that or you're not a strong enough subset of our species... but Fumo's still with us, so. :p

    I miss frisbee and jealous you got to play it in *the* national stadium! Introduce it to the locals and you'll quickly find out just how slow I am.