Independence, Waterfalls and a Really Gross Big Toe
So I celebrated my first 4th of July in country, had my first big trip, and developed my first major ailment. All in all I would say it was it was a very successful Independence Day. Here's a play by play...
July 1st- Seven of us left our house in Linguere together to make the trek down to Kedougou. There are many various forms of transportation in Senegal, and one of them is called a sept-place (seven places). It's a station wagon that can fit seven passengers and a driver. We were very lucky in getting exactly seven of us, and the ride down was more or less calm and easy (compared to most travel in Senegal). After many hours in the car, we arrived in Tambacounda, the region right about Kedougou. We stayed overnight there at the Tamba regional house.
At the Tamba house I mentioned that my toe was bugging me. I think it started out as an ingrown toenail, but I hadn't been able to fall asleep the night before because it was throbbing so much. I'd been taking advil, but it was starting to really be annoying. One of the older volunteers decided I probably had a staph infection. Onto the next day...
July 2nd- A bunch of us rented out a van and travelled to nearby Wassadou, a beautiful park where you can see hippos and baboons! All of us from my area were very excited about this because we have sand and camels, so greenery and hippos is like a whole other world. Four of us from my region decided that we wanted to keep going south and make it to Kedougou that night, so after a very long and complicated afternoon of begging for a ride, we finally got a car down to our campement. After briefly greeting our friends there we all crashed.
July 3rd- A down day. After walking around Kedougou for a bit, we ended up spending the majority of the day in the pool. At this point my toe was starting to look pretty funky, but wasn't hurting as bad as it had been earlier.
July 4th- We got up and hung around the campement for a while, and started making the journey to the 4th of Juky party around noon. The party was at the Kedougou volunteers' house, which is really more of a hippy commune than a regional house. It's comprised mainly of huts, so most everything is outdoors. The ideal location for a huge gathering of volunteers to celebrate their nation's independence. The party was awesome, despite the fact that my toe was becoming really ugly really fast.
July 5th- I woke up and called my PC doctor, who put me on antibiotics. We rented two cars and drove to Dindefelo, a nearby village with a waterfall. The small hike made my foot very unhappy, but the waterfalls were beautiful and I'm so glad I went.
July 6th- The worst day I've had in country thus far. Jenn and I caught a 5am bus from Kedougou to Tamba, and in order to catch said bus we had to wake up at 3:50am. We arrived in Tamba around 9am and began the great wait for a car. We had breakfast at the Tamba garage and waited. And waited. And waited. By 2pm we finally filled up a car and got going. Around 7pm we arrived in Touba, not too far from Linguere. Then we had to negotiate a car from Touba to Linguere. Long story short I ended up screaming at a man who turned out to be my friend's host cousin and after resolving our differences he invited me to his house sometime for yogurt and dancing.
*Note: I used to have a calm temper, but it doesn't help to be calm here. Yelling seems much more effective and people don't get upset by someone yelling in their face the way they do in the US. In the future, if I ever write that I was yelling at someone or fighting with a stranger, don't think that I've lost my mind... I'm just adapting to my surroundings. And maybe losing my mind just a little bit.
Anyway, we FINALLY got back to Linguere. Jenn and I sat down to eat and stretch out a little bit. This was when I realized that my toe no longer looked human and that my entire foot was swollen. I called my doctor (truly a saint for dealing with all of us volunteers all hours of the day and night) and she put me on a stronger antibiotic and told me to e-mail me a picture of my toe. I'll spare you the photo on here, but it's in my latest Facebook album for whoever wants to see it.
July 7th/8th- I spent the day of the 7th catching up on e-mails, doing laundry and trying to stay off my foot. I was able to skype with my parents and aunt Anne Marie, which was nice! I was originally planning on getting my act together and heading back to village now, since I've been out for a whole week for the 4th; but I've been advised by the older volunteers that that's not the best idea right now. So now I'm sitting around uploading pictures and writing this really long blog entry. I'm hoping the antibiotics will start to heal my toe soon and that the pain will go down. For now I'm just waiting and trying to stay off it as much as possible. I really just want to get back to village because I'm going to leave again for my In-Service Training (IST) in Thies on the 17th. Had this occurred in the middle of August when I'm not so busy I would've loved the opportunity to chill for a few days watching movies and using the internet. Can't this stuff ever happen at the right time?
So that's what's going on in my life right now, just waiting to see if my toe falls off. Hopefully you won't read another blog entry for about a week because that means that I'm able to go back to village. I'll keep everyone posted.