Friday, September 18, 2009


A welcome respite to the fairly insufferable business training that I’m forced to attend at least once a day while at the center, arrived today in the form of gardening. Yes, the words “I want to asphalt my yard” have definitely come out of my mouth more than once, but it was amazing to do even a little physical activity and learn something that could actually be relevant in Senegal. Pepenier is the French word for tree nursery and the PC Senegal country director wants all volunteers no matter what their sector to help plant trees.

So today all the SEDers were out in the garden (in the rain I might add) sifting a 2:1 mixture of sand and manure in order to fill small tree bags. It was pretty fun and cool and ridiculous based on the tools that the volunteers use here. Sifters aren’t always accessible so old grain sacks are commonly used. We learned how to fill the bags of dirt correctly, dig the plots, and how to place the seeds. I think I definitely want to start a pepenier when I get to site. It will be something tangible to do and hopefully I can find a school or woman's group to do it with.

We also learned a little bit about what plants are easily grown in urban gardens here. Basil supposedly grows like a weed so I will definitely be planting some of that. Did you know that you are supposed to pick the basil leaves off the top of the plant so it grows outward and sprouts more branches and therefore more leaves? True story. I'm going to be quite the little green thumb before I'm done here.

Tonight was also the trainee talent show. Some people were pretty impressive. The talents ranged from stuffing bananas into one's mouth to a girl with an amazing voice to some awesome guitar and some tap dancing. The piece to resistance in my opinion was my friend's Katherine rap about her village to the tune of "Baby Got Back" I'm hoping that I will be able to put up the lyrics tomorrow. It was absolutely hilarious and it's one of my favorite songs so it was pretty funny. Then we went to the bar. Great. Gazelles are a necessity here.

Tomorrow is a day I'm dreading. I have to go back to the home stay village. It's literally killing me. That is the part of PST that's really getting to me. My family isn't the greatest. They aren't really interested in me and they give me one word answers. It's really hard. I can't believe that I have another 19 nights of hell in the village. This stretch is 10 nights and I'm just mentally preparing for everything to suck. The home stay is hard. I know that I have to push through this period and at least attempt to stay as positive as I can. There are things to look forward to... like more mail when I get back to Thies (hopefully!), booze, and some relative freedom.

Well, I wanted this post to be a little better, but I got back from the bar later than excepted. Oops. Wish we luck in my village visit. Send me emails, I will be checking more often this time since it improves my sanity and I will try to respond to everyone as soon as possible.

Hope all is well in the states.


  1. hey dude,

    good job planting trees-a garden sounds really cool! my plant made the long drive out to Cali haha, it says hello.

    if you're getting internet and have your computer, you should watch the office from this week, hilarious!


    oh ps good job using your arabic. i was telling someone how my roommate majored in arabic, they were super impressed with you : )

  2. Hi Alyssa,

    I got a little behind on your blog with the start of school, but now that I'm caught up I have so much to say! I'm sending you a seperate e-mail so I don't take up too much space on your blog comments! For now, know that I continue to be highly impressed and immensely proud of you. I'm putting together your package and it will be on it's way by Monday. Of course I know it will take a long time to get to you, but hopefully knowing it's coming will help to brighten your days. You are doing an AWESOME job!

    Love, Aunt Diane