Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 1

I'm in Africa and it's pretty surreal. We landed in Dakar at 6am after a lovely flight on South African airlines. The flight attendants actually like their jobs and they give out free booze. Awesome. I also got a little bit of sleep and woke up in time to fly over some islands off the coast of Senegal and then see all the lights of Dakar. Going through the airport was easy and then we had a two hour bus ride to the training center.

I hadn't really thought about what Senegal would look like before I got here, but I wasn't surprised at what it looked like. Pretty much everything is beige and sandy and HOT. Most of the buildings on our way to the training were only a couple of stories tall and made of cinder block. There were also a lot of abandoned buildings, although there are a ton of shanties along the road selling various items. People would also come up to the bus and try to sell us things. I also saw some US chains along the way like Western Union and some more that I'm blanking on right now. The training center looks much more lush than the area surrounding Dakar. We haven't been allowed into the town yet, but the compound has a lot of trees and plants. People are also planting gardens and it's kind of like a little oasis. I don't know if the town is as green as the PC compound, but I will probably find out tomorrow.

We arrived at training center and had a quick breakfast of French-ish bread, a imitation Neutela called chocopain, and some coffee/ tea. We were then allowed to rest and I took a quick nap and a much, much needed shower. It's a very cool day today aka 85F, but it's humid and when there's no AC relief you get really sweaty and disgusting. My face is shiny and gross and my hair is big. Boo. The showers are pretty much just a spigot upside-down. It's pretty cold, but it feels good.

In the afternoon we had lunch with was served in big bowls and we were all given spoons. It was brown rice with some vegetables, an onion paste thing which was good, and some goat. It was actually really flavorful and good. I can definitely eat it. After lunch we started all of our interviews of the day. My first interview was a language test, which went well. I'm actually a little worried I'm not going to get any French training and will be placed in the local dialect Wolof right away. I will know tomorrow. Then my health interview, which was pretty much getting malaria meds and being told to take them. Maybe I will have some crazy dreams. Finally, I had a Small Enterprise Development (SED) interview about my work placement. We talked about my skills and I was pretty blunt about my need for internet and desire for a big city. There are actually people fighting over the more rural locations. Thank god I will not get those. Ugh.

Now we are all waiting for dinner in the disco hut, which is just a round open air hut. It's still really hot and I'm still really sweaty. I will definitely be taking another shower before bed tonight.

That's pretty much what's happening in Senegal today. All the volunteers are still getting to know each other and everyone is pretty exhausted. I'm excited to snuggle up under my mosquito net and have some cracked out dreams because of my malaria meds.

I love everyone's comments so keep them coming! If you click on the picture on the right hand side you should be able to see more pics with comments. Happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. Alyssa,

    If you google yourself, the article you worked on with Professor Suslow is shown with a shout out to you for your research skills. I did not take the time to read 72 pages of cartel information. Keep up the great posts and have a great time.