Friday, April 2, 2010
GeoTagged, [N14.76455, E16.79479]
So the last 3 weeks have been going really well. Tomorrow I am headed back to the training center for language testing, tech activities and a good ole American Easter celebration! Here is an update of what has gone down since my first post:
My New Language- While the educational system in Senegal is conducted in French, all people speak variations of tribal languages. I am learning Wolof, which is spoken by app. 75% of Senegalese people. There are 10 other people learning my language, 12 Pular of the North, 6 Pulafuta, and the remaining 23 learning small minority dialects. I have attached a link to a language map of Senegal
Homestay- My family is wonderful, the first few days were rough and tiresome because of language barriers but everyday I am able to communicate more and more and my little brothers and sisters help a lot! My Senegalese name is Ami Fye... Pretty lucky compared to of the others I have heard :)
I am in a town called Thieneba Gare app. 15 kilo east away from Thies where the training center is, but about 30 degrees hotter... Which means the daily average during the hot, dry season averages 110-125. The towns people are conservative Muslims, which means I am pretty desperate for a beer most of the time. I have language classes and other activities with 2 other people who have homes in my town, and by now everyone knows us!
We all live in concrete housing blocks called compounds that typically house several families or family members. I have 3 families in my compound. Our classes occur at my language instructors compound 2 times a day, so I spend most parts of the day away from home.
Activities- The Senegalise people sit... A LOT. Not so true for a Peace Corps Volunteer! I typically have a mid day break that lasts 2-3 hours during the hottest part of the day, similar to the ciestas I hated so much in Italy. Our training is structured to give us technical skills training, and then opportunities to practice these skills in "technically directed activities" or TDA's. So far my language group of 3 has completed a mural on the importance of nutrition at our local health post, maintnenced and planted a school garden, attended a womens group meeting and baby weighing, created a community map, and unsuccessfully built a mud stove (details to come next week on attempt 2). See the pics at then end of the post!
Thieneba am naa jafe jafe (Thieneba you have problems)- as my post title indicates, my towns water pump has been broken for the majority of my homestay thus far. All of our TDAs have been increasingly difficult with a non existant water supply not to mention our toll on personal hygiene. Thankfully Peace Corps occassionally swoops in with their white Land Rovers to deliver water supplies for our us and our garden but not our host families ( I hope everyone appreciates the irony here).
With any luck this situation is not going to last the next month until our training is over.
Posted by Kourt at 3:18 PM