Finding My Place

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Well, I have been in my village about a month. My life here is very different than the somewhat hectic life of training. I spend a lot of time trying to create a routine, in order to salvage my sanity, a routine has proved key. The first couple of months in your new site, is simply for learning. I must learn a new dialect of the language I was taught during training, I am learning the names of all my neighbors, learning about my new town, surroundings, environment, directions...all of it new. 
The exciting news is that the first rain storm of the season came last night! It was WILD, hours of dry lightening and thunder before a torrential downpour... I realized that I am now living in a perpetual sauna.

I have a hut in a family compound, and behind it is what they describe in Senegal as a "yard", or a place where your toilet facility is and a fenced in area for showering. I created some raised garden beds in my yard area, and established a small compost pile. I also started to paint the front of my hut, and make some amendments to the inside, like adding a chalkboard and having a desk made. It was a series of ups and downs until I was settled, but now, I feel really good about the life I am establishing in this village. At night when I am sitting with my family watching a poorly dubbed movie, I think about how much I really like Africa, and that after this stint, I could see myself working here semi-permanently.

Pace of life is SLOW. I spend most parts of most days, sitting and talking to people, or trying to find people and materials for small projects. I am still unsure what my role will be in the health center, but intend to have an office there if possible.

I am really liking my family, and living situation. My host brother works for an NGO, and I am very close to other volunteers. I really didn't get into the swing of things until this last week, and started on a few little projects with other volunteers in my area.
The Peace Corps has an initiative to increase Food Security, and has started some pilot farmer initiatives in my area. I traveled down the road to see a pilot farmer training, and also to deliver tools and supplies for an irrigation project last week. I will likely be involved with this project as it is ongoing, and will be a good foundation for teaching nutrition lessons to women's groups, and farmer's and their families. I attended a meeting about a girl's leadership camp to be held the last week in June, and will be teaching personal hygiene and doing a Moringa doughnut demonstration! A perk is that the camp is being held on the beach in a campemant and we get to go on a ride through thee mangroves!!!

I also had my fortune told last week by a "see-er". Basically he is a dude who walks around and yells stuff in Arabic, but my sisters says that he can "See" things that Allah tells him, so they gave him some $ to tell me my fortune. He took is his finger and scribbled a half circle in the dirt, and then put 25 finger prints in it, he started talking to him self with his eyes rolled into his head, and writing stuff in Arabic in the ground. In poor French he said to me " Madame, you will have tri-colored children; they will have skin colored three ways". Okay.

Starting next week I have a language seminar in my village, for 4 days, before heading to my Leadership Camp, then it's the 4th of July, a huge celebration for PCV's. Check out my new pictures on my PICASA account!


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