Sunday, April 18, 2010


So once again I've gotten behind on writing, so quick recap. Volunteer visit was a week or so ago, and I spent 5 days up north in my actual site visiting my ancienne (the volunteer I'm replacing) and meeting everyone in the village. I love my family and all the people I met at the school and health post were very nice and welcoming. I can't wait to install (move in) in May and actually start working/practicing Pulaar.
After VV we spent a day in Dakar doing admin stuff and touring the city a was way too quick of a visit, but I love Dakar. It's like a mini-european bubble where you can do/get anything you could possibly want. Next weekend we have a few days off, and I'm thinking about going back to Dakar to check it out some more. (Probably won't be going back much during the next two's like 10 hours from my village).

This past week we were back in our training homestays for more language class and our second language exam. Only 3 more weeks to be "intermediate-mid" before swear in...wish me luck!

Well we're back in Thies for more tech training for this week and at the end of the week we have a counter-part workshop where two of our counterparts from each of our villages comes to Thies for training with us. They get an overview of what training is like for us as volunteers, and then we get to teach them some random language like Chinese to help them understand how difficult it is to learn another language. My counterparts are the headmaster and a woman at the health post, but she is sending a health relay because she can't take the time off to come to the workshop. It should be an interesting few days, since we are traveling back and forth to Thies for three days from Nguekho, which is about 45 min each way (because there is not enough accommodations at the training center for all 80 counterparts and 40 volunteers).

Ok well I have no energy to write more so I will post more later when I have more interesting things to report!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

march 26th blog...

here's something i wrote like a week ago one night at homestay...enjoy.

Today I was almost attacked by a gecko when I opened the door to the latrine. It almost scared the pee out of me. Those little things look cute but they’re sneaky little buggers. Since I’m beginning with animals, I might as well add that donkey’s are the most ridiculous animals ever. The freakish noise that comes out of that being is absurd! They do go off like clockwork though- every hour without fail, our little friend over at Zeina’s (my language teacher) home stay reminds us that he’s there!
I have yet to see any really scary spiders, but I am completely used to having ants crawling over me all day. I’ve almost been pooped on a few times by the pretty metallic-blue birds that sit in the mango tree above us during class in the morning. Baby goats are the absolute cutest things ever, but goats in general are such trouble makers, so I’m glad we don’t have any at our house. The cats in my house are adorable but I’m afraid to touch them cus they probably have fleas or other nasty diseases. Maybe I’ll take one of the kittens from the training center with me to site when the time comes.

So, I’m super proud of our garden at the school here that is actually beginning to look like a real/totally amazing garden and pepenier! We put up a great fence around it yesterday and today we planted most of what we had, which is: moringa trees, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, some kind of peas, and some other great stuff! It’s exciting to see the barren field of trash that it was actually becoming land that can grow something (well it is still full of trash, but it’s hard to keep it out when the trash burning pile is right outside our fence…can anyone say waste management issues are a huge problem in Senegal/Africa?!!) Anyway, can’t wait to see something besides weeds grow in our plots, although even seeing weeds grow was exciting because at least we can get what looked like sand to actually grow something with just a little love, manure, and water!

Being back at my home stay has been nice, the atmosphere at the training center is exciting but also a little overwhelming in its own way- too much to do, too many people to see, and too little time. I’m glad to be back in my own room and have the flexibility to shape my own free time a little more. I still have a lot of guilt though whenever I do anything besides sit out with my family and try to learn new words or study…but I honestly cannot handle spending all my free time focused on language acquisition or I’ll go crazy! My room is becoming a little more conducive to studying/hanging out in now that I have a floor mat that I love to sit on or take naps on.

I bought a djembe at the artisan market next to the training center in Thies for about 6 bucks. It’s small, but I love it and I’m trying to learn how to play. I think it took about 2 minutes for the entire neighborhood of kids to arrive in our yard when I first played it here…my neene was definitely giving my drum the death stare (I continually get the impression she doesn’t like my tam tam…I can’t imagine why). The kids love it and always ask for it. I love adding to the noise of daily life with my drum, I fit right in with all the blaring radios, TV’s, kids screaming, prayers, donkey’s wailing, and other commotion.

Each day I just think that once I get through PST (pre-service training) it will be perfect. Everything seems to fit just right these days. At least at this point, I feel like I couldn’t be doing anything better with my life, and I love it! Just keep pushing through the frustration of learning a new language at warp speed, and soon I will be able to communicate what I actually want to say, and hopefully give people a better idea of who I am/what I’m doing here.
After this session of training at the center I am so excited for the crazy amount of great projects that I could potentially work on! There’s just so much out there that it’s hard to even imagine what I will finally end up doing, but they all sound so great….gardening, composting, mud stoves/improved stoves, murals, building stuff, encouraging sustainable change etc…SO EXCITED!


As of yesterday, I now know where I will be spending the next two years (see below), and which friends I will get to see regularly. Heading back to my homestay village soon for the weekend before we visit our actual sites next week...excited for that! Hope to have time at some point to post some pictures...I know I'm getting really behind, and I apologize. I'll try to get to it soon!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

site announcements!

Just found out where I will be spending the next 2 years of my life in Senegal...Boke Salsalbe is my village in the northern region of St. Louis!! (north/eastern-ish of Senegal, right on the border of Mauritania) Just got finished being blindfolded, and then placed on a big floor map of Senegal on our sites. I'm SO excited about everyone that will be in the region, and the village I am going to!! It's great to finally know what to expect after PST and who I will be able to visit (in our stage at least plus the current PCVs). Will write more later if I have time! :)

Check it's near this town on Google maps (I can't find Boke Salsalbe exactly, but I know it's relatively close to Pete).