By Aurore Iradukunda
On our 4th night at the pre-departure ACIC orientation we gathered and all played Never Have I Ever, which is a funny group game in which players one after the other, mention something that they haven’t done, those players in the room who have at some point in their lives done the said thing, must take a drink of a beverage of their choice and so on. The game made me think of all the things I had done, but especially what I had yet to experience. Working in The Gambia as a Health Promotion and Education intern really had me thinking about my ‘Never Have I Evers’ which are now becoming first time experiences. It has only been 2 weeks, but here’s the run down: Working in The Gambia allowed me to take the plane for the first time! (Yes, at 22 years old! It’s never too late right?) Let me tell you, I was freaking out and even cried a little! Thanks to the nice stranger sitting beside me who calmed me down.
I was able to experience the ocean and a real beach for the first time (yay!)
I took my first bucket shower! It was actually quite fun, and now it has become more or less of a regular thing! (The water pressure in our shower is super low in the morning)
I attended my first Gambian baby naming ceremony and met interesting people. According to the tradition, babies should be named one week after they are born.
At the same ceremony, we ate benachin which literally means “one pot” in wolof for the first time—which is a huge shared plate of delicious well-seasoned rice, vegetables and meat. We ate with our bare hands for the first time. It looked easier than it actually is, but Krystal and I were pros by the end of the meal!
I am experiencing for the first time, 7am rooster morning calls (Thank you dear roosters, I will never ever be late to work).
I was given my first Gambian/West African name: you can now all call me BINTOU! I am drafting and looking forward to implementing some Mental Health content for our peer health education program, which is a first at NSGA! I am witnessing the amazing work that the NSGA provides and the many challenges they face daily, i.e power outage slowing down the work!
It has only been two weeks, but it has been great.
Aurore Iradukunda is working as a Health Promotion Intern with Nova Scotia Gambia Association in Gambia.