Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to Sahel

I just got back from my volunteer visit, where I visited a volunteer (duh) in the region where I'll be living for the next two years. Obviously there's no way I can comment on everything, so here are the main bullet points:
  • I visited a volunteer named Justin in a town called Yang Yang with another trainee, Jenn. We all had a great time together and Justin was a fabulous host. Here's Jenn and I on our first charette ride.

  • I'm living in the Sahel. It's unbelievably hot during the day, then at night you're shivering
  • My village is in the region Louga, but our regional house is in Linguere, so I'm going to refer to it as the Linguere region (sorry for any confusion)
  • My new name for the next two years is Mariama Ndjow
  • My village is really big (around 2100 ppl) and rowdy, which should be interesting
  • There are a ton of teenage boys in my village and I would estimate I had about 50 marriage proposals the day I visited. It's gonna be a fun 2 years
  • A lot of my friends went down south, where there are waterfalls and monkeys... I got camels...

  • We're out in the bush and a lot of people there have never seen toubabs before, so we unintentionally made a lot of little kids cry... it reminded me of my Sesame days.
  • At one point Jenn dropped her phone down Justin's drop toilet. Somehow is was miraculously retrieved the next day and still works. Proof the PCVs are in fact disgusting and I will never be truly clean again in my life.
  • All coversations the entire visit revolved around food. I've never been such a fattie in my life. I eat the weirdest things now that I would NEVER have eaten in America, just because it's food. This makes me nervous considering it's only been a little over a month.
  • At the end of our volunteer visit, we drove into Linguere to meet up at our regional house with the other volunteers and trainees. Here are Jenn and I on our first bush taxi. *Note: this photo was taken at the end of the ride as we were unloading... when we were actually on the taxi, there were about 25 other ppl piled on, as well as 3 sheep and a box of live pigeons. I can't make this stuff up.

  • And finally, some wonderful news.. the good people of the Linguere regional house download episodes of Glee, so all of us deprived trainees were able to watch 2 of the episodes that we've missed since being over here. Life is truly great.
That's all for now. I won't have a computer for the next week, because that's how it goes here. I'm loving every minute of this and sorry I can't write down every single detail.

I'll write again next week. And a shout out to my amazing parents for celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary today! Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad!! Love you!!

Peace out!

Friday, April 8, 2011

And the winner is... Mbeulekhe!

Lots of stuff going on.. but the most important thing is that I got my site yesterday!!!

I'll be in Mbeulekhe in the Linguere region of Senegal. So basically my next two years are gonna be HOT! Here's a map which shows Linguere (in the middle). My site will be a little to the left of that.

I'm really excited, even though I'm not going to be close to the coast. Some of my friends will be in the same regional house as me, so at least I'm not stranded. And one of the girls in mt Stage is only going to be like 10k from me, so we'll be able to bike to each other and have America time when we need it.

I know some stuff about my site so far, but there's a possibility that it's all wrong. I think that my host father is the head of the local Koranic school, that I'm the villages first PCV, and that I'm going to have ELECTRICITY!!! Needless to say, that's going to be awesome. Fingers crossed!

The way they reveal our sites, or "de-mist" as it's called here (as in de-mistification), is really cute. They blindfold everyone and then put you on a giant map on the basketball court. We were all so excited. A Senegal tv crew filmed us finding out. We probably look like ridiculous little kids.

I'm headed back to M'Boro right now, and I'll be there for 2 nights, so I'll be back on Sunday. Then we get our stuff together and all ship out all over the country for "volunteer visit," where you spend the week living with a volunteer in your region and get a chance to see what life will be like once you're there. I'm really excited! I can't believe it's all going by so fast.

I'd like to apologize for my lack of skyping/calling while I'm here. I'm just so pressed for time! I know that stuff will calm down after swear-in and then I'll probably be bugging all of you to skype 24/7. So I better go because they've started honking the horns for us to leave. Ba suba!