Fist thing we had after VV was Counterpart Workshop, where all of our counterparts from our various villages came to Thies and we had a 2-day conference going over all of the Peace Corps policies, rules, expectations, etc. I was nervous for it ahead of time, but it actually turned out to be a really nice experience.
My two counterparts are a teacher in Mbeulehke's lycee named Mohammed and a boutique owner who works with the local Eaux et Foret named Ale. They both couldn't have been nicer, raved over my "amazing" Wolof, and seem like they're going to be great resources when I move to the village. Mohammed's already called me multiple times since the workshop to ask how my language classes are going, if I'm excited, etc.
After Counterpart Workshop, we all needed a break so we got to go to the beach! We went to Popenguine, which is about an hour away from Thies and honestly the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Google image it and check it out. Here are some stolen pics from other ppl:
So beach weekend was awesome. A few interesting things did happen though, like me getting bed bugs. Nothing can ever go completely perfectly here haha. I woke up covered in bites all over my face, shoulders, chest, etc. I looked REALLY pretty. But the bites went away pretty quickly, so I really have no complaints.
Immediately after we got back to the Training Center from the beach (as in, like an hour later) we piled into the vans and headed back to our homestays. We had our LAST week at the homestays. I can't believe it's already over with my family! Hopefully by the next entry I'll have some pictures of my fam. But here's my language group with our beautiful mural that we painted at the local ecole, and us having a party at my house on our last day...
Now we're back in Thies and preparing for swear-in! I have my final language exam in about an hour. Fingers crossed! We swear-in on Friday the 13th and I had a FABULOUS Senegalese outfit made so I can't wait for everyone to see the pictures. It's gonna be awesome. We're also having a party on Thursday for our host families here at the Training Center. That should be exciting too. My mom won't stop talking about it.
And one final note before I peace out... It's not important, but I feel like it should probably be mentioned.. NO ONE here can understand that my name is Fae. "Faye" (rhymes with eye) is a very common last name here and people just can't get that my first name is Fae and rhymes with hey; so I've been encountering some pretty funny mix ups that I think you good folks back home would enjoy.
For example, we went to a police station in Dakar one day to sign paperwork and offical stuff.. and when it was my turn I go up and my forms say Fab Patton. So obviously I start laughing and explain that that's not my name and the officers are just looking at me with a blank expression like I'm crazy. So there's a good chance I might still be Fab in the Dakar police system.
Also, one of the first days here when we were still learning everyone's names, one of the guys in my Stage mentioned that he always wants to put a "L" in my name and call me Flea. So we all laughed and said that that makes no sense, that putting an "L" in my name would make it Flae, etc. But somehow Flea has stuck with me and that's what all of my friends call me now.
So on any given day here in Senegal I could be called Fae, Ami, Fab, Flea or Mariama and I now will respond to any of those names. Just thought you'd like to know.
Next entry will have some fly pics of me in my Senegalese gear! Get ready!