Winter in Nouakchott

Nouakchott, 12/23/2017

It is December 23, 2017 and it is unseasonably cold in Mauritania. In the 50’s. This is very uncommon for here. It is probably part of the Global Warming Myth! Today at work we received an emergency request from the mine to provide 300 blankets, food kits and animal feed to assist the poor that are suffering through the cold nights/days with no rain and therefore no food or food for their animals. Wow, if that does not put us all in the holiday spirit, nothing will. Even though Mauritanians do not celebrate Christmas, obviously because it is a Christian holiday; I have explained that for me it is all about Santa Claus. As everyone left the office Friday, they all wished me a Merry Christmas. I know it may sound silly, but it is those little gestures of respect and understanding of our different cultures that make me smile.

Life here has been a bit challenging, I went through a tough period of homesickness and the frustration of isolation. However, I put on my big girl panties (oh wait, I already wear those) and pushed through. We had a period here of no Wi-Fi so I could not talk to anyone back in the states, and then five days of no hot water! You know, a girl can only take so many cold showers before she gets testy. My relentless pursuit of having issues resolved (some would call it nagging) I call it persistence, had positive results. I now have my own “dongle” for private Wi-Fi and permanent hot water.

Last weekend I was able to tag along with our Security Manager and his wife to a restaurant that was also having a live band. The pictures are not very good, but boy was it fun. Just to be out with “grown-ups” and being in the outdoors with great music was so much fun. Heck next day I even put in a request to go to my favorite little café (alone) for breakfast. I really am starting to settle in here, and with work going so well (love my new manager) it is really improving.

It may sound really odd, but I almost feel more at home here in Mauritania then the six days a month I spend in Las Palmas. Las Palmas almost feels like a mini monthly holiday. Maybe that is not a bad thing, especially since here is getting better. Jennifer (Lionel – Security Manager) has been a great help. She is going to help me go to her French hairdresser next time I need a trim here in Mauritania, as well as her seamstress. Here in Mauritania you can buy beautiful inexpensive but nice fabrics and there are several seamstresses who can make you something custom made to your body. Wow, first an Arabic name, now a hairdresser and seamstress? If I can find a Pedi it would be perfect!


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