Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rats, Cats and Bats! Oh My!

Assalam Maalekum!

Let me begin by saying that I've just been learning and doing WAYYYYY too much for me to even begin to remember everything to write on here. Hopefully I'll remember the highlights and be able to record them..

But anyway, here's what I looked like leaving the hotel in DC for my flight:

I already wish I'd packed less stuff, becayse all of that was NOT easy to handle, but no going back now.

So, before I go into detail about training in Thies, I thought it might be good to explain my process of what I'm up to now that I'm here:
  • Training at Thies Training Center
  • Language & Culture training in my PST homestay
  • Swearing-in (tentative date- May 13)
  • Move to my site and begin volunteering for 2 years
Right now I'm at the Thies Training Center. It's awesome. It's like summer camp for big kids. We get great meals, have actual toilets (though we think they're great, they're definitely not up to US standards), clean drinking/bathing water, dorm-like rooms that we're in with bunk beds, a basketball court, volleyball net, etc. Basically, it's an amazing transition into life in Senegal.

But we're not just sitting around playing games and eating all day. We've been doing crash-courses in Senegal 101 all day long.

My daily schedule here at the Training Center:
  • 6am- wake up
  • 7-8 breakfast is served
  • 8:15- first lesson
  • 10:15- tea break
  • 10:45- second lesson
  • 12:45- lunch (best part of the day)
  • after lunch- 2 more lessons
  • 7:30ish- dinner
  • chill
  • bed around 11pm
We really act like little kids here. I don't think I've played this many card games since 5th grade. Uno, Scrabble, and sitting around singing along to the few musically-inclined trainees who brought their instruments are common after-dinner activities. One of the trainees is French-American and has been really enjoying teaching us the games that he played growing up; like "Sardines," which is like the opposite of hide and seek, where one person hides and then when you find them you hide with them until only one person's left looking. Sounds corny, but hey, it's entertainment. It is pretty refreshing to hang out with a group of 48 twenty-somethings where everyone's sober 24/7 and party's consist of Uno marathons. Oh the life of a PC trainee.

Here's the Disco Hut (I'm not kidding), where we have lessons and spend the majority of our time:

The mats on the ground are prayer mats. I now know a significant amount about the dos and don't of Muslim culture, and a ton of other stuff that I just don't have time to write about yet. But I will!

Anyway, I gotta go to a lesson on planting trees, but I thought I'd end off with an interesting tidbit. Everyone thinks that you're going to see so many wild animals in Africa, but so far everything that I see is exactly what you see in the US, just in different circumstances. Our Training Center has some really cute cats that wander around. (I've been here for a few days and it's like I'm a totally different person.. I think the cats are cute? What??) And we have some bats that like to chill in the Disco Hut with us at night. I'm still not okay with the rats though. Probably never gonna be okay with them.

Gotta go get dirty... if you could see me now you'd find that hilarious. I'm disgusting from gardening all day.

Ba beneen!


  1. What about the rats and the bats?

  2. Wow, I am so excited to hear from you! And even more excited to hear that you are happy and doing so well. Sophia and I miss you! We'll keep you updated on what's going on here. Sending big hugs!!!! Ba Beneen Fae!

  3. Fae,
    You are doing a great job keeping current on your blog-so many people are with you in spirit! Love you, will be checking on your progress daily.
    Until then,
    Aunt Kit xox

  4. Hello Miss Fae! Okay, I could handle cold showers, maybe even bats BUT RATS ewwww!
    Wonderful to hear your voice this morning and we are so looking forward to seeing you on scype later on today. It all sounds very busy and fun. Okay now I'm going to sound like your mother...PLEASE watch the sun, the sun block..apply, apply and do it agian.
    Love you my girl xxoo

  5. I am loving reading about your days in Africa. I look forward to reading the next blog.
    Love you,

  6. "so far everything [animals] that I see is exactly what you see in the US, just in different circumstances."

    Yess, that's the best part. In India I saw a cow standing in a heap of trash in the middle of town just eating and minding its own business... You brought back a memory.