I have been in the north of the country in the Provinces since last Sunday. These areas are very poor and have no electricity. Some of the wealthier groups have generators, as do several of the hotels and guest houses. My guest house has a generator that runs from 6:30pm-7am, I have electricity other than those times. The only internet café open to the public is on the grounds of the private hospital and is only open evenings during the week from 7-10pm, hence why there is not a lot of blog updating. It is ridiculously hot and humid and sweating is as common and breathing- for everyone, not just me. The people are friendly and welcoming although some of the children have never seen a white person before and either shout out “apouto” or white person or stare at me in horror. Most of the children have come around, although there is one little girl who continues to be traumatized of me.
I have conducted nine interviews so far and have talked to some wonderful people and have gotten some great information. I was also fortunate enough to attend a traditional marriage ceremony yesterday and am going to a traditional naming ceremony on Sunday. I have bought some African garb, as I cannot attend these ceremonies in western wear. The most traditional of outfits is very amusing, the second it a bit more “hip” but no matter what I wear, I am the only white person around.
I have now written about 35 pages of travelogue- and don’t worry I am not going to post it all here, although I may put some interesting pieces on when I am back in Freetown and have more immediate internet access. I can confirm some of the African stereotypes, people do carrying things on their heads and babies on their backs, and yes many of the local women do go around topless, it is so hot, I don’t blame them. I have gotten a few mosquito bites but no signs of malaria yet and do sleep with a mosquito net around my bed at night. I have had to sign in with the local chief to announce that I am in his chiefdom and he has participated in my study. I have had my participating consent form thumb-printed by an illiterate man and have drunk many a Star Beer and some palm wine. I am eating all sorts of weird and wonderful things and (knock on wood) haven’t gotten sick yet. All is well and going along great. I will move to the next community on Wednesday and will be there for eight days. I hope all is well with you all back at home. Sorry this is so brief- but trust me, it’s better than detailed 35 single-spaced typed pages. :)