Friday, April 19, 2013

The True American Rainbow

There is a television show called New Girl, and on that show they play a game called True American. The Peace Corps Volunteers of Kédougou have talked about playing the game in real life several times, imagining how we could add in our own rules, quotes, and trivia.

Having already bade farewell to Digital Ben and the songwriter, phenologist, and re-birthed living legend Patrick Hair, the PCVs of Kédougou gathered on the occasion of the imminent departure of Marielle, Martin, Ian, and myself and actually played True American. We cooked garlic bread and Bucket Soup, made mojios and pesto pizza, combed the market and the Free Box for the appropriate attire, dressed up like a rainbow (because why not), and they showed themselves to be as True Americans as there ever were.

After the abject heartbreak of leaving Salémata, True American Rainbow brought some much-needed levity to my week of good-byes. We managed to cover the whole spectrum - Reds, Oranges, Gold, Yellow, Greens, Teal, Blues, Sparkles, Pinks, Purples, Plaid, and Gray.


Complementary Colors! 
The Crayola Fun Pack
At the Start of the Rainbow
Basically, playing the game involved dressing up, hopping from base to base (the ground is molten lava), calling out silly trivia questions and quotes, and switching clothing items in order to finish the game wearing as many colors of the rainbow as possible. It was fun and funny, and, as always, it was great to spend some quality time with the 'Gou Crew.

These are the people who've been there when all the tires went flat, when the ATM didn't work, and when my Sriracha ran out. They got the baignoire tubs out when it was too hot to live, fixed my bike when the gears got mangled, commiserated when work was going disastrously, and lent me a hair brush when I didn't have one (which was always). They've bush-messaged me Malarone, interpreted my dreams, put up with my affinity for confusing picture-messages, and made up songs about the terrible roads that leave us over-jostled and caked with orange dust. They've cooked Spanish omelettes, baked birthday cakes and pizzas and Ghirardelli double-fudge brownies and brewed countless French presses of hot coffee. When I lost my phone for the umpteenth time they called it, and laughed good-naturedly when it inevitably turned up my pocket. They've shared their M&Ms and their diarrhea stories and their huts and their palm wine and their fancy cheese. They took pictures of my rashes and forgave my irritability and taken team costumes to a whole new level. When I got sick they left Ricola in my basket, when I was away they greeted my host family, and when my American family came to visit they showed them a epic good time.

At the End of the Rainbow
I'll see some of the 'Gou Crew in the not-so distant future (inchallah) and in the meantime I'm grateful to have been a part of such a fun, brilliant, ridiculous, generous, beautiful, motivated group of True Americans. I'll miss them collectively as well as one by one, and I'll think of them every time I eat Pumpkin Spice, take a garlic shot, see a gold star, catch a glimpse of Cinderella, make bagel, hear a real nice chant, read a sexy book, sing my way down a river, throw it in the fan, eat too many beignets, count the birds in my backyard, or see a rainbow breaking through the clouds. 

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