An ongoing project in the Kedougou region is the weekly Peace Corps radio show. Every Monday at 3pm Greenwich Mean Time the Kedougou Radio Communitaire–like your local NPR station, but with more Akon and Celine Dion–is taken over by a Kedougou region Peace Corps Volunteer (usually KC).
The radio shows vary from week to week. The breadth of topics is huge, from maternal health and agriculture techniques to American culture and international news. But regardless of the topic there is always American music–the more random and quirky the better. Since this is the only radio channel available down here in Pulaar-land, the volunteers who are regulars on the show have become local celebrities.
This past week, I made my international radio debut. My sweet, sweet Pulaar could be heard from the streets of Kedougou to the hills of Guinea. I did a short segment explaining Halloween with a fellow volunteer and local radio personality, KC.
Here is a rough translation of what we say:
KC: Greetings people of Kedougou, you’re listening to community radio 80.9. Today is Monday, this is the Peace Corps broadcast. I am Mariama Keita (KC) an agriculture volunteer. We have a guest today, Rokia Fall (that’s me!) she lives in Kedougou. Rokia, hello and welcome.
Me: Greetings people of Kedougou!
KC: What’s up? Are you in peace?
Me: Yes, peace only.
KC: Do you want to say hello to anyone?
Me: Yes, I want to say hi to my family in Dingaysu (my neighborhood). I want to say hi to my older brothers Sannu and Balde, my older sisters Har and Bebe, and my younger siblings, Adja, Mami, Papa, and Abibou. And Neene Dianka (my Mom) and Mamdou Fall (my Dad).
KC: Me too. I want to greet your family. Ok. Rokia, what did you do yesterday?
Me: Yesterday was an American holiday.
KC: Holiday? What holiday?
Me: Mariama! You’re crazy. Did you forget your culture? It was Halloween!
KC: Yes, yes. Now, I understand. You’re right, yesterday night was Halloween. People of Kedougou, do you know what Halloween is?
Me: You’re crazy. It isn’t THEIR holiday, its OUR holiday. It’s not the same.
KC: Sorry. You speak the truth. Ok now, we need to explain what Halloween is so they understand.
Me: Ok. On Halloween, when the sun sets, all the kids dress up in fun clothes. They pretend to dress like a horse, or Barack Obama, or a pilot.
KC: Really? So if you see them, you don’t know who they really are, because they have dressed up.
Me: And when the sun has set, they go to every house and they say “trick or treat”
KC: If they say that, its like saying “give me candy or I will do something bad to you right now!” So they put a little candy in each kids sack.
Me: That’s Halloween! But the holiday doesn’t originate in America.
KC: No, not there. It comes from England. There, in cemeteries there were evil spirits and people went from house to house asking for money.
Me: Just money?
KC: No, they would ask if they could get paid, and if they were paid they would pray for the evil spirits to leave the house.
Me: Mariama, I think that our Halloween is a little like the Talibé (religious beggars) and Tankarit (Islamic New Year) here!
KC: Kinda, But now Halloween isn’t a religious holiday, it is a holiday for fun not prayer.
Me: Yes, that’s true. So I forgive you. Now you aren’t very crazy.
KC: Very crazy?! I’m not crazy at all!
Me: Oh ok.
KC: Thanks Rokia!
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.