Just another day

Trip Start Mar 11, 2007
1
14
27
Trip End May 2009


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Flag of Senegal  ,
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So I just got back from my final training for Peace Corps where I was back in Thies with all of my stage.  It was great to see people but my Wolof seriously suffered because I took a refresher class in French and spoke mostly English with my other pals because there were just so many stories to tell each other!  I learned a lot and on the whole found this second training much more helpful and I came back really motivated.  Then before going home I went and helped out at a summer camp where I got to whitness USAID and Senegal in action.  At first I was frustrated because there was a lot of sitting around and the tree planting we were sapose to organize and do on the Thrusday of the week got pushed to the second day and we [the 4 volunteers] were not told about it until the morning of.  Apparently a USAID rep was coming that afternoon and they wanted something to show...this seems to be the characteristic problem with Senegal and development, they want the stuff to make it look like they are developed on the outside but on the inside you can see that the trees that were planted had roots exposed, holes dug too deep, trees planted to close together, no water and to the trained eye you would know that those trees were going to die, however we got to do some troubleshooting two days later and that was a success.  On the whole the camp was great though and I loved that it was run by Senegalease and really we were only there to observe and help where we could.  The plan is to hopefully organize a similar camp in my area this next summer. 
Also we took a small trip to visit another volunteers site, an older couple who have a great trash management project going where they take the trash which is mostly biodigradible and turn it into some really awesome compost which they then might be able to sell.  This would be an ideal project for my own village and Im excited to tweek it to Nguith.  Actually the project seems so sucsessful that we all hope that lots of other PCVs can start it in their villages.
Upon returning home I had a beautiful surprise...everything was green.  I remember when I was in Alaska for the "Spring Pop" as they called it where one moment there was snow and then "pop!" green buds and sping had arrived in a day, there Spring Summer and Fall are all mashed together and thats the reason for the "pop" but here in the desert of Senegal the"pop" is like unreal magic because how can sand turn into green lush weeds and watermellon...well it rained....thats what happened in after just one really good thunderous bright storm life was given.  Moods were brighter all around and then....RAMADAN, soon moods will apparently begin to change because everyone is now fasting meaning not only no food from sunup to sundown but also no water...I think its a bit insane to do without water.  Im starting a project with some of the high school kids and we want to survey the town and Im getting a little worried that because people are not eating or drinking that this ,ight be q rough start but its all about trying project after project and just staying active so here goes.
Starting the project is the absolute most hardest thing to do here.  Where to begin is always hard wherever you are but in the heat, the sudden rains; people not making meetings because "God didnt will it" yeah its a bit tough.  So again...here I go....ahhh Ive started by at least narrowing my ideas and Ive come to three focuses for now 1 the trash management project 2 Getting the teachers motivated about the new school year 3 the Survey.

Ive thought of a new list for packages and please do not spend more than $20 to send it.  Make the packages as small as possible and do not stuff with peanut and plastic use tissue paper and newspaper or old Tshirts so I can use it for paper mache art projects or give tshirts to a kid learning the Koran who has no shoes and clean shirt or for dying and makiong soccer team shirts for the girls team I want to have....old artsy or environmental postcards are good to show the kids
So the items and only If you have this stuff lying around or can find it cheaply:
The art kit: (Please if you send this send only one of each item listed below otherwise your package will be heavy)
                  kids scissors
                  pencils
                  colored pencils (12 pac)
                  ruler
                  crayons (8 pac)
                  primary colors of tempra paint
                  kid paint brushes

Food: Cliff bars, jelly bellies (or other hard candies) and snack crackers or trail (chex) mix and instanst oatmeal (maple flavored)
Articals and cartoons that you think are good and funny and pictures of you.

Ok and thats all for now oh wait so one more story:
So I go with another volunteer who lives nearish me to visit her site. now she live near in that its only 30 k away but there is no road really so thats what makes it really hard to visit her and why after five months I was going to be her first visitor, also there is only one car early in the morning that leaves her village and only one that returns in the evening if she misses the car she has to stay with me in my village.  So we set off and the time she thinks the car leaves in the afternoon but apprently it left early because of the rain even though the big market that was happening that day usually means it leaves later, it left.  Then this guy says no no another is coming so we wait because we are also waiting out the rain before we would head back to my village anyway.  The truck comes we climb abord and hold on for dear life as we go racing down the dirt sand roads the rain blowing in our faces and we are laghing at the obsurdity that we are actually kind of cold then the truck putters to a stop and no amount of tinkering or pushing gets it to go again: it is dead and the sun is setting and we are stranded in the desert and the night is coming.  We wait for almost two hours; the sunset was really pretty and my friend comes down with diareah.  This big honker of q truck comes; it already has a ton of people piled on its roof but they are nice enough to stop and pull us on board even though it means I am sitting on people and they are yelling in languages I dont understand no one wants to get up and move a little to let us in men are asking for our hands in marriage and the bucket of meat smells and presses into my back and the chair and gas stove and package my friend broght to bring home are scattered; the truck I swear almost tips over twice and I do understand the words "someone is going to die" we get dropped off finally on the road to our village which is still 5k away::::all I can say it thank god I had a flashlight and thankgod it was Ramadan because it meant we had a delicous meal waiting for us!

ok thats all for now! love you all Desneige
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Comments

smcferran
smcferran on

Hi Desneige
Sounds like you have been having some interesting experiences. I really enjoy reading your posts. WE are going into Fall here in Oregon - the leaves are falling and the colors are beautiful. I am glad you got to see a change of color there with the 'POP'.

Thanks for the updated list for your Care package, Angela & I will get one off to you this week.
Love you
Aunt Sandy

gsm228
gsm228 on

ramadan, no water
I remember playing baseball with some kids during ramadan in the hot, hot sun, but they were real troopers and I don't think it bothered them too much. They're so used to going without water that I think unless you're having them doing windsprints I wouldn't worry too much. Also, I fasted for the last three days of ramadan and it was tough, but managable. I'd recommned trying it, maybe for the last few days or weeks, just to get a sense. And also, have fun!! Sounds like things are going pretty well.

Geordie

lgarsonsmith
lgarsonsmith on

Hi from Linda at Drinkwater School
Hi Desneige. Oh my goodness! Your last adventure had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
I will gather up the supplies you need and mail them to you. I confess that I haven't yet looked into funding for the photography project I mentioned. I have a sweet band of boys in my class - just 13! No girls....Very unusual.
The Jewish New Year is just over (yesterday was a 24 hour fast day, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). Today my husband is giving the homily at the Unitarian Church in Belfast and I'll be singing a Hebrew song to go along with the service. I'll also sing a song I learned recently from a group called 'Emma's Revolution,' 'Peace, Saalahm, Shalom.' Those 3 words are repeated over and over in a beautiful round. I'll try to make a tape for you of it. Do you have a tape player there? Your projects sound very useful.
It does seem alarming tht people don't drink during the day when Ramadan is happening in such a hot climate. I've read that there is a very different concept of time in other countries, and that must be a 'challenging' issue for you.
I'm thinking of you and admiring your can do attitude! Love, Linda

abdulfal1
abdulfal1 on

Nomodeme Desneige
My name is Abdoulaye. I am from Thies, right by the Military Base. I helped with the Pease Corps for two years before I come to the US. I have been reading your messages and it reminds me about my passed volunteer at my family. I hope you are having lots of fun. I live in Denver, CO now; going to college. Good luck with everything!

Jam akk Jam

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