I had the opportunity to weigh myself the other day and realized I had lost 20 pounds since coming here! And it's not because I am starving myself or because I've been sick (I haven't been sick at all except for one time during training - and, for the record, I eat and drink pretty much anything that's offered to me). I think it's the general lack of appealing snack foods and alcoholic beverages, more than anything else. I think this is a good thing!
A lot of people warned me before we left the U.S. that women tend to gain weight in places like West Africa because they eat so many carbs here. I have been thinking that those people are the type who ate nothing but salad in the U.S. Because I probably ate far more carbs in the form of drinks, tortilla chips, dessert foods and other things than I do now - and I eat plenty of rice here, I can assure you!
We have discovered some good things to make with our available food resources here. This is a recipe I made up:
Stuffed Peppers - Peace Corps Gambia
Green peppers (if they make a miraculous appearance at the market or you grow them)
Broken rice (from the bittik)
Beans or lentils
Adja (the red one)
Shelf-stable cheesefood wedges (have to go to Kombo for these)
Cook rice and beans, mix with sauteed onions and Adja and some hot pepper
half and clean out peppers, stuff with rice mixture
put them in a frying pan with some water in the bottom, put a lid on it and cook until they are wrinkly on the outside and the filling is hot
put cheese wedges on top!