Wednesday, September 9, 2009


And we’re back at the center. While I’ve been feeling particularly low and hating my life for the past few days, getting in a car (after waiting for 1.5 hours) and driving back to Thies immediately put me in a good mood. Riding down the a Senegalese national highway (aka a two lane road)and seeing the beautiful African countryside (at least for now during the rainy season when things are green/ not desert)is an amazing experience. I felt invigorated and like I wanted to really explore the rest of Africa. I had to take myself back a step and remind myself that only the countryside is really beautiful and that the cities and villages are terrifyingly impoverished and that I've wish I could leave almost every day I've been here. But, there are those moments when I think to myself "Wow, I'm in Africa. This is amazing" and I have to learn that those are the moments to remember and to get me through until the next time I can step back and appreciate.

Most of the time, like today, when I'm doing something terrible like wading through water a foot deep that's sure to be filled with animal feces, human child feces, and other miscellaneous nasties, while carrying my backpack, medical kit, and pillow it's hard to appreciate the PC experience. I guess that is the PC experience. Obviously after that harrowing journey I had to wait over an hour for the PC car to pick us up, but that's besides the point.

Back in Thies I got to see other toubab friends and feel the comfort of the training center envelop me in a wash of flushing toilets, English, food where I can identify all of the main components, and a nearby bar. It's an amazing feeling being back. Knowing that I made it through two more hellish weeks in my town and I'm now rewarded with internet is great. Just earlier today I couldn't fathom continuing in the PC process, I just want to curl up and die. Now that I've had a wonderful beer (I've never been so tippsy off of a pint of 4.5% alcohalic beer) and talked with the people I haven't seen in two weeks and they have ridiculous stories to match mine... it actually makes it worth it. Or, at least I think it makes it worth it.

The problem with PC, or at least the problem with me and PC, is that I haven't really been able to find that equilibrium point yet. I can't stop myself from feeling good about everything and then falling into a pit of despair when I just want to shut myself up in my room, gorge on some peanut butter (I also do this when I'm not upset), and call my country director to come get me and put me on the first plane back to the States.

Tomorrow all will be relieved and I will know where I will be for the next two years. I hope it's wonderful and I feel great and I can go back to the bar and celebrate, but I'm worried I'll just jump right back on the roller coaster of what if and I could leave or this is going to be the most amazing experience of my life. It's impossible to know and that's what so hard about it.

Right now I'm just happy to be back and to find that the cleaning ladies put new sheets on my bed. Major victory. I am a little disappointed that I didn't get any letters. Tamar got five. I know I have some packages in the mail so I hope they get here soon, but I need all the rah rah cheers I can get. I love hearing about the trials and tribulations at home. No gossip is too small for me not to love it in Senegal.

Check my pictures, reading list, and wish list! They are updated. I can't wait to share with you all tomorrow my site and my state of mind. Hopefully both will be positive.

I had salad tonight! Yay! So have some wine and buttery popcorn for me!


  1. Alyssa,

    Congratulations on getting back at least to a little bit of civilization. Tomorrow hopefully will be a great day and one that will provide you with the roadmap for the rest of your stay. Regarding a previous post and hairy legs, I would be very impressed if you get to 2% of your brothers pelt. For your sake, I hope that you don't. We all back in the States are very proud of you and you are doing great things, it just doesn't seem like it to you yet. Mom just left for school and in your honor I think I will have ice cream for dinner, a salad would take to much effort.

  2. Hi Bunny
    I feel like I have failed as a have no letters or packages:( Seriously I'm a loser mom. This is where I was coming from...implicit in sending a package was the expectation that you were going to stay in Senegal. No way was I going to be guilty of that kind of pressure! However, your Kogel cousins knew you were going to stay from the beginning and I know they went you an awesome package. It should be there any day. Once you seemed to find your gyroscope Dad and I sent a whopper! It has the cortizone, peanut butter and the Cetaphil is right behind in package #2. Hopefully you will receive them before you leave Thies this time.
    Tell that Tamar not to be such a show off with her 5 letters!
    Thank you for sharing your true feelings with all of us Alyssa. I'm glad your blog is not a constant travelogue. I hear your voice in your posts and I know my girl is still there....speaking and being and questioning.
    You are a witness to a world that I always suspected was out there but I never wanted to acknowledge. Now I can't deny it.
    Please have a cold, watery beer and whoop it up with your PC friends. YOu deserve it. You can save the world tomorrow!

    All my love

  3. One beer Alyssa? No matter the conditions I expect a better tolerance from all 711 members :)

  4. Yay!! Civilization! I'm glad you found a beer.
    And if it's TV you want, I'm your girl. Just tell me what you want to watch and I'm sure I'll be able to find it somewhere in my stacks of DVD's