October 2, 2009
Yes, Kaityln has taken home the prize as the first person not related to me to send me anything! And she sent me a sweet package therefore she rocks. Also, I will be sending her an amazing gift from Senegal as soon as I install at my permanent post. Just in case anyone was wondering, I licked the package of the Reese’s Cups she sent me…it’s all the rage in Africa…everything melts. I was able to open Kaitlyn’s package only after voyaging to the post office with Tamar since otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten them until Tuesday. I refuse to be denied my mail! I also got a letter from Aunt Cindy and the rest of the Kogelschatzs clan so it was a great mail day! Thanks again!
Bean sandwiches again for breakfast got the day off to a good start and although I’m still exhausted I was quite as bad as yesterday so I really thought today was going to be good until the first session with our counterparts. We were supposed to map out our first three months at site before we come back to the center for more training, but neither my counterpart nor my supervisor were there. Obviously, it’s the hardest for the closest people to the center not to actually show up on time. I took the opportunity to curl up in some random chair for a nap until I was jolted out of my sleep by a PC staff member who told me my counterpart had arrived. We said our pleasantries and then she told me she didn’t want to map out my first months of service because my supervisor wasn’t there, go figure.
I can already tell the working here is going to be the ultimate test of patience. Watching our PC instructor Bamba is infinitely helpful. At first his technique made me want to pull my hair out because it’s so slow and repetitive, but that’s how it has to be done here. Even though I really haven’t learned anything in any of our business sessions, I can now appreciate that I have at least learned some technique from Bamba that I can use. Repetition, allowing everyone to talk even though they say the same exact thing, and being willing to be snapped at are all integral parts of working with and teaching the Senegelases. It’s going to be rough.
My counterpart and supervisor are definitely nice, but I’m not sure how much work they actually do. They seem like big talkers. I would be fine with them being big talkers if I could go in and do some work. This is actually another thing I’ve really been thinking about. My work as a Peace Corps Volunteer is development work. That means I need my projects to be sustainable, which means a lot of teaching. I wasn’t mentally prepared for this. I wanted to come in and change the world. Get things done. That’s not how it works. I need to teach business techniques to entrepreneurs so they can do the real work themselves. While I will without a doubt do some work myself, my real goals need to be teaching and helping. That’s a mental shift that I’m still working on making and what I’m taking away from the counterpart workshop. I think it’s a difficult thing for many American’s to understand since we just DO things. I know it’s going to bother me so I’m trying to prepare myself.
The day was really pretty uneventful. I actually got information from the Peace Corps today which is a first. I know I will install at my permanent site the Monday after swearing in, which is October 19th. I also know that I can stay at the center all weekend and sleep! Yes! I’m already planning on going to a restaurant with supposedly excellent wireless to watch the Michigan game with some State boys tomorrow afternoon. Go Blue! And that we are all going to Dakar on Monday for our first tour. Exciting.
What is not exciting is being back in the home stay village although it’s really not bad anymore. I’m starting to connect with my family and especially my mom as my Wolof is getting better and better. My cousins from Dakar are back for the weekend which means I get a delicious dinner tonight! My aunt loves potatoes and I love her for that.
Sorry for the rambling post. Utter exhaustion is taking over any capability I have left to speak English or any other language for that matter.
Keep the letters coming and check your mailboxes because there are some pretty awesome postcards in the mail!
I forgot the LOST IN TRANSLATION part of my day:
As I mentioned my cousins from Dakar is back and that means all of my uncles friends were visiting the house last night. When they were here for Korite all of my uncle’s friends kept asking me to marry them and when I told them they were too ugly everyone thought it was hilariously funny. Last night, my uncle’s friend sits next to me and starts talking about getting married tomorrow. I was like “haha I don’t want to get married,” and he kept talking about it and saying tomorrow, tomorrow. I called him ugly, said I had a boyfriend, and was ready to call it a day when my whole family started laughing uncontrollably. I thought my mom was going to have a heart attack/ pee in her pants. The man was telling me he’s getting married tomorrow and was inviting me to the wedding…Oops.
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago