Mauritania Adventures

Nouakchott, 11/25/2017

Back to Mauritania on Saturday, October 28. When I arrived at my Nouakchott apartment I found no stable Wi-Fi. That may seem like a minimal inconvenience, but Wi-Fi is my only way to communicate with family or friends. I had a bad case of “homesickness” and not being able to talk to my kids or friends only added to it. I was able to text and while texting to Alina I realized that I would be away for the holidays but did not want to be away from my birthday in January. It’s a big one! 70!

As I told Alina I remember 40 (so do many of you) we celebrated in Reno. For 50 I was in Cripple Creek having dinner with Barbara (she was 10) and when she noticed that the restaurant offered a discount for 50+ she blurted out “look mommy, you can get a discount now that you are 50”. For 60 Dani and Monster had a party for me, 60 is the new 40 themes. So now 70 will be celebrated in California. Alina and Brian will host my 70th birthday party. It’s something I am really looking forward to. I’ll fly first to Tucson for a week then Barbara and I will fly to Los Angeles. Alex will meet us there. Cheri and Bob will join everyone in California. All being together means so much to me.

Meanwhile, back in Mauritania, life moves on. Still no stable Wi-Fi and it’s now over 30 days. Thanksgiving was spent here. I almost forgot it was Thanksgiving if it wasn’t for texts from family and friends. It was a bit memorable. Came home that night to no running water. Still no water the next morning so I took a “miners’ shower”, kettle of hot water mixed with bottled water in the sink, then washed my hair and rinsed with more bottle water. About 30 minutes later, the water came back on.

Work is going well. We have been going to loads of Supervisory and Coaching training in anticipation of us moving forward with our Succession plan. Right now, it looks like I will be done by December 2018. That will shorten my contract by a few months, which is fine with me. After training offsite in Nouakchott, we were all waiting outside and along came a herd of goats for an afternoon snack!

There has been a bit of (distant) unrest in Nouakchott. A blogger a few years back was arrested for blasphemy when they claimed he had said something against Mohammed and about the class differences based on tribe/color. In Mauritania the Arab tribes are considered higher class citizens than the (dark skinned) Africans. The blogger made comments about that and was sentenced to death by beheading. Some world organizations found out and petitioned for a new trial. This time the death penalty was over turned, and he was going to get out of prison. There were demonstrations against his release. From my office I could hear far in the distance what sounded like fireworks, found out it was guns and a few hand grenades thrown around the demonstration. Our security manager showed me on a map where the demonstrations were, they are very far away from our offices/homes, almost to the airport. Sometimes I guess I forget that I’m in a third world country because the people I encounter are so peaceful and nice.

It looks like I will be having Christmas in Nouakchott. I have already down loaded my annual Christmas movie to watch, no way can I break from tradition. “Love Actually” will be on the agenda.
This week I’m in Las Palmas for a few more days and enjoying the freedom to go out and walk, walk, walk.

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