Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Manure, Scorpions, Saying Goodbye, and Dancing Ladies

So it seems like once again it's been forever since I've written a blog post and I have SO MUCH to write about... so here goes!

The Month My Life Revolved Around Cow Poop!

My month of March was crazyyyyy! Working in gardening and tree planting in an area like my site is very time sensitive, and if you want to do any tree plantings, then March is the time to fill the tree sacks. This involves making a mixture of half cow manure/half sand and filling sacks, then placing them in beds to get watered and chill for a few weeks before you seed them.

Sounds really easy, right? Well for the most part it is. Unless you're a crazy person like myself and my friends, Jenn and Erin. The three of us travelled around from each of our three villages to the next, filling countless sacks. In my village, we filled 1,000 sacks.

The most difficult part of this process was actually finding good manure. Now, I live in a place with plenntyyyy of cow poop; but it's mainly the big, hard, dried-out cow pies. I needed soft, decomposing cow manure without any goat poop or horse poop mixed in. (Too much talk about animal poop? Sorry, but welcome to my life) So that was the hardest part, but luckily one of my host dad's friends had some nice manure that I could use. Success!

Jenn and Erin helping collect poop

Erin and I digging some beds for sacks

And Justin came by to help, too!

My biggest worry was that the staff/students wouldn't water the tree sacks after we filled them. I had to leave for about a week after they were filled and I was panicking! But I was so happy and relieved once I returned to see that they had been watered. Then this past week, about 2 weeks after they were filled, I seeded the tree sacks. Now I just have to pray that things actually grow! Yikes!

The Infamous Scorpion Sting...

I must say of all of the crazy things that could happen to a person here in Senegal, I neverrr would have thought that I would be the one to get stung by a scorpion. It just seems like too crazy a thing to happen to you; but of course I was wrong.

Here, scorpions only come out at night and are attracted to light (I have no idea about scorpions anywhere else, so this might be true of others as well, but I have no clue). At this point in time, we were in Erin's village working on her tree sacks. It was after dinner and we were hanging out on a mat on the ground waiting for tea. The three of us toubabs were laying on our backs on the mat just chatting.

All of a sudden, all of her host family on the other end of the mat started scrambling around shouting "Scorpion!" So, obviously, we started scrambling too. I had been laying on my back with my knees bent. To stand up, I sat up and put my left hand on the ground to push myself up. Well, in the midst of standing I suddenly felt a searing pain on the outer side of my left hand and realized that I'd put my hand down either right on or right in front of the scorpion as it was running across the mat.

I never even actually saw my attacker, because Erin's host brother killed it with his shoe and then a cat promptly carried it away to eat it. Womp womp. But damn, did that hurt! I kept trying to shake my hand around because when I kept it still it stung so badly. Erin's host sister tied a piece of fabric on my forearm (to keep the pain from spreading? not sure), and that did kind of make it feel better. They kept telling me to go to the health post to get a shot (of what? again, not sure) but I declined. It kept hurting all night and then the next day I had pins and needles for the whole day. It definitely stunk and I feel really bad for anyone who ever has to go through that, but at least now I have a story!

Goodbye Party

As I've mentioned, we're in the midst of saying goodbye to four of our dear Djolof volunteers:  Kim, Ann Marie, Emily and Justin. So while all of us were still in the same place, we had a nice night where we were able to say goodbye and have one final party all together.

We slaved in the kitchen all day and came up with some pretty impressive stuff, considering the limited options.

The party wasn't too sad yet, but it's getting sadder every day. Emily and Kim are now in Dakar getting ready to fly out, and Ann Marie and Justin are getting ready to leave too. It's going to be so weird!!

Village Ladies Workin' It

My village, Mbeuleukhe, recently had a grand opening for our lycee (high school). Events included a soccer match, a sabaar (basically a big dance party), a wrestling match and soiree for the students. I took advantage of the sabaar and tried to take a bunch of  photos to give people a good idea of what dancing looks like here. And I have one awesome video, but it's taking my Senegal internet about a million years to upload it, so I'll just have to put that up when I have faster internet. 

The ladies of Mbeuleukhe making their grand entrance

It looks like a mid-air lunge, but it's dancing!

Flashing some knee!

I love the blue hat

In the zone

The New Freshman Have Arrivedddd!

As our dear four friends are getting ready to leave, we were happy to get to meet our new Djolof volunteers who will be installing in-site in May! We are expanding a little bit with six newbies: Sophia, Leeya, Jack, Erandy, Katie and Margaret. I was lucky enough to be present when they took their blindfolds off on the big map and received their site announcements. They just spent a few days visiting the beautiful Djolof region and hopefully they all loved it!

We were all very excited to meet the new Djolof volunteers and can't wait till they're done training and are here full-time!

Switching from Bonjour to Buongiorno!

One of the reasons why I've been so crazily busy lately has been because I have a vacation coming up at the end of the month! Jenn and I are getting the heck out of the desert and heading to Italy! We're starting off going on a cruise with two of our other friends and then bumming around Italy for a while. So, so, so excitedd!!! So if you don't hear anything from me for quite a while, don't be alarmed. I'll probably be eating so much pasta and pizza that I won't be able to write another post for a while :)

If anyone has any good Italy tips or info, then please send it my way!

Lots of Thank Yous!

I've been a very lucky PCV and have been receiving some awesome goodies lately! I need to send out some huge thank yous...
  • Jen Bower Wisniewski- Thank you so much! I loved all of the treats, and have been using the spices every time I cook!
  • Ruth and Bobby Gerris- You're the best! Those soup mixes/pasta sides are amazing! And all of my friends were very excited to see skittles :)
  • Anne Marie- Thanks once again for some lovely treats. I can't wait to use the pudding cake mix!
  • My Caiter Tater Tots- way to send a postcard all the way from the Philippines. I can't believe it actually made it!
  • And to my dear parents who managed to pack all of my cute America clothes into a package for my vacation- thank you, thank you, thank youuu!!

And before I leave let me send out a huge HAPPY ANNIVERSARY shoutout to my mom and dad. And I'm also wishing a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mama!

That's all for now! There's a good chance that I'll be out of touch for a while, but I'll try to get online if I can at all. Miss all of you! This time next year I'll probably be in Dakar waiting to fly back home. So weird!!