As usual, it’s been a while since my last entry… and quite a lot’s been going on since my little sister’s baptism in July!
July 21st marked the first day of Ramadan this year. Luckily for me, I was only in-village for about a week for my second Ramadan in-country. Not that I was intentionally trying to skip out on the holiest month of the Islamic year, but I certainly didn’t mind that my schedule only allowed me to be at site for a week of fasting.
For a little refresher, the Ramadan schedule goes a little something like this:
4:30am- Wake up, eat breakfast (usually leftover dinner, like rice and fish)
4:40am- Back to bed
Day- Wake up, lay around a lot, nap, read, watch movies on my laptop, basically do nothing
7:30pm- Break fast time! We usually had dates, coffee, milk, fruit juices, and COLD WATER!!
10pm- Dinner(standard Senegalese foods- rice and fish, rice and beans, etc.)
Needless to say, the going without food and water (though I would sneak water when I could) is difficult, but this year I felt like the sleeping schedule was even harder than the actual fasting. I was mainly just really sleepy the week that I was in-village.
BUT the good news is that (even though I feel like I can barely say I went through it, because it was only a week) that was my *LAST RAMADAN! Who knows if I’ll ever experience a Ramadan again, but I’m glad that I got the experience while I was here. I definitely wouldn’t consider it one of my favorite parts of my Peace Corps service; but it taught me a lot about Islam and I’m glad that I took part in it.
*PS- I’ll now start to obnoxiously point out when I’ve experienced my “last” things in Senegal, as I have about seven months left and things are starting to wind down.
Out of site…
I left my village in the beginning of August to head to Dakar for my mid-service medical appointment. I’m happy to say that I’m actually two thirds of the way done my service now, but I scheduled my appointment then because I was just about to fly out for AMERICA!
And it turned out that my timing was excellent, because the day my appointments started, Senegal was graced with a visitor. Hilary Clinton came to visit and PCVs were allowed to go see her speak. My photos of the event are pretty bad, but here they are anyway…
|Mrs. Clinton being introduced|
|Sorry these pictures stink!|
America the Beautiful
After a long almost-year-and-a-half, I got off a plane in Dulles airport on August 6th, and was greeted by my super-tanned Mama and my Dad rocking a “Peace Corps Dad” t-shirt. I had an unbelievable two weeks back in the U.S.
I’m so grateful that I got a chance to go home, and was so happy to see all of the friends and family that I hadn’t seen in such a long time. Thank you to everyone who took off work or traveled to come visit. I’m so glad that I was able to see all of you. And for anyone that I was unable to see- I’m sorry! It was a quick two weeks, but soon enough I’ll be home for good and able to see you.
My trip ended on a lovely note. I was able to see one of my dear friends, Kristin, get married. She was an absolutely beautiful bride and I still can’t believe that everything worked out and I was able to make it home for her wedding. Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Kliefoth!
|Kristin and Bryan's first dance|
I wasn’t even sad getting back on the plane to Senegal, because I know that I’ll be back soon enough. Overall, it really was an amazing time!
Au Revoir, Amerik. Bismillah, Senegal
And now I’m back in-country. Spent a few days in Dakar getting my toe fixed up (the zombie toe of last year struck again), then went to Linguere to see all my friends that I missed while I was away. It’s funny, but we all talk so regularly here that even spending two weeks away feels like a long time.
It was really good to see my Senegalese family again too. I brought back a ton of American goodies (simple things like pencils, baby powder, a baseball cap, and photos), and they LOVED them. Here’s my new baby sis in a her new hat and socks.
|She's not too happy, but Mom loves it|
Right now, I’m in Linguere for the weekend because one of our wonderful Linguere volunteers, Abby, has decided that instead of leaving after her two years of service that she’s going to extend (yay!!). This weekend, she’s packing up and heading to bigger and brighter things in Thies, the city where we have our training center. So while we will be sad to see her leave the Linguere area, we’re definitely happy she’ll only be a few hours away, versus a plan ride away.
I’m really excited because the girls’ camp that I’ve been writing so much about is finally approaching! I’ll definitely write a good entry about the camp once it’s over. Thanks again to everyone who generously contributed to it!
Alright, folks. You'll probably be hearing from me next after girls' camp. Love you all!