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"The · darkest · thing · about · Africa · has · always · been · our · ignorance · of · it"


You're such a Jola

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I feel differently about Gambia different days.
Today is a "punch Gambia in the face" day.
Why?
Our president is a Jola, that's why.
See, Gambians identify more strongly with their tribe (Mandinka, Wolof, Jola, etc.) than with their nationality as Gambians.  As such, most still fall into predictable stereotypes about their tribe.  The Serahules are businessmen, the Fulas are the most humble (having been everyone else's slaves a few generations back)... and the Jolas?  They like to party.
I don't just mean once in a while.  I mean that Jolas will party it up at the slightest provocation.  So what happens when you put a Jola in the most powerful seat in the country?
He declares national holidays at the drop of a hat.
This is great for Gambians with office jobs, who often find out late at night that they don't have to work the next morning.  It's a problem for anyone who ever wants to accomplish anything.  Peace Corps volunteers are constantly trekking into Basse or Kombo to withdraw their monthly living allowance, only to discover a holiday's been declared so, surprise!  The bank's closed!
This is an especially huge problem if you arrive in Basse or Kombo without enough leftover cash to feed yourself or get back to site.  Because then you're stranded... and hungry.
I once biked all the way to Basse to go to the bank, only to discover that a holiday had been declared because Senegal and Gambia had played each other in a football game and Gambia had... won, you say?  No, no, no, silly...  It was a draw.  So yes.  Our eminent prez shut down the country to celebrate Gambia's draw in a football game.
So back to why I want to punch Gambia in the face today.
Gambia's under-17 team is off somewhere for a football game that was yesterday.  (I don't care enough to know who or where they were playing.)  They actually won, this time, so last night, a national holiday was declared.  It's for today through possibly as long as Sunday.  But then Monday is when they return to Gambia.  The last time this happened, the day the team returned was also declared a holiday.  Oh!  And next Friday through Monday is declared one long holiday for Good Friday through the day after Easter.  (Did I mention this is a Muslim country?)
So, in short, despite the fact that I still have A WEEK AND A HALF left, I have a grand total of THREE DAYS in which to do ALL of my medical checks and Close Of Service paperwork.  Because even the PC office is forced to close for every last ridiculous Gambian holiday.
This is a problem.
And yet... I've been here for two years...  I should've been able to foresee this type of thing by now.
*punches Gambia in the face*
Current Mood:
aggravated slightly violent
Current Music:
quiet--no one in the office since it's a HOLIDAY
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