Friday, October 23, 2009


Work this morning showed me just a few of the frustrations that I will undoubtedly encounter many more times during my stay in Senegal. At the office Diof (my work partner) and I finalized a calendar for some trainings that he's going to do and that I'm going to observe and potentially participate in. He wanted to dictate people's names and the names of towns to me. This was a ridiculous endeavor, which I attempted to explain to him since letter combinations in Wolof completely perplex me and without at least seeing a word once I have no idea how to spell it. Once we completed this tedious and stupid task, he could've done it a million times faster himself, Diof announces we're going to the market to type the calendar up on a computer. He's sitting in front of a computer. I point out the obvious and he says it has a virus and he can't type on it. The computer doesn't have an internet connection. How does it have a virus? I don't know, but I'm getting to the bottom of it... eventually.

On our way to the market we stop every 10 feet to talk to one of Diof's friends. It's awesome that he is so well connected so he can really help me meet people, but at the same time it takes us forever and a half to get anywhere/ get anything done. When we finally reach this infamous computer place there's one computer and Diof proceeds to dictate the entire document to another woman who types it up. I literally wanted to beat my head against a wall at this point. Especially when he kept asking me people's names and then berating me for spelling and saying them wrong. To make matters worse, I had to get home for lunch (and more importantly talk to someone on the phone about my internet connection), but Diof had different ideas and called a friend who was supposed to show me a map of Thies on Google Earth since I had told Diof that I keep getting lost.

This was a very nice sentiment, but involved going to ANOTHER internet cafe and then neither Diof nor his friend knowing how to operate Google Earth. All the cyber's here have a program which prevents downloading so we couldn't even get Google Earth. Diof then told me that as an American I should know all about computers. Oh My God. I was about to jump out the cyber window. He also wanted me to help him with his phone which mysteriously has two lines, but only one had credit. I have no idea. I have no adequately explained how frustrating the morning was. It was an incredible display of inefficiency. I know that I've already really started to adapt and I lose my temper much less quickly and am much more laid back, but this tested the new me. I refuse to not care about time or efficiency or common sense.

Lunch Time = MY INTERNET IS WORKING. I also refuse to not be happy that I have internet in my room now. I never pretended that I wanted to do hard core PC in the middle of nowhere. I got exactly what I wanted. While other people are lamenting their placements in cities, I'm happy for the relative luxury I'm living in. You can put Alyssa in Africa, but you can't take away my love of the finer things in life. I did secure my internet connection only after my brother helped me out and spoke to the Orange woman on the phone. My French over the phone is apparently incomprehensible so big shout out to Ziabata.

I then had a very interesting conversation with another brother, Muhammad, 26, about getting married. He saw my photo album and proceeded to ask which one of my girl friends were married/ had boyfriends. He also told me he was really excited that I was a girl (the last volunteer here was a boy), but that he was disappointed I am a brunette. To make a long story short, he wants to marry a blond, American woman and then asked me if he could use my computer to talk to Jackie on Skype because she's a beautiful, American, blond. Hey Jackie, he says he only wants one wife so that's a plus. I could totally set you up!

My afternoon back at work was full of meeting more people and not understanding conversations Diof had with people about how I would do all their work for them. Great. We did visit a beauty school/ sowing school for girls that I'm interested in working with so that's cool.

I'm now completely exhausted. My brain feels like it's going to explode as I try to digest my first work week. Conducting my life in Frolof is exhausting plus I've been walking to the ends of the Earth and back everyday, my office is pretty far from my house/ I'm sure I take the long way since I usually have no idea where I'm going. I fell asleep on the couch for two hours before dinner.

Ok, well that's it for now. If you've written me an email in the past few days I will get back to you this week. I've also posted my new mailing address. If you have sent me something in the mail I can still pick it up from the center, getting my own address is just going to be a lot easier. Check back tomorrow for pictures of my bungalow!

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