Monday, October 26, 2009

Lost and Found

Work today was much less overwhelming than it usually is and that's probably because I only went for the morning. Half the morning was spent talking to Diof about our accounting sessions which start tomorrow. He was really impressed with the lesson plan I wrote up for him, which is good and I'm excited to see him teach tomorrow although I'm sure it will be infinitely boring as we wait for the meeting to actually start. Regardless, I'm really happy that I'm keeping busy and it will be cool to see other villages during our trainings.

The other half of the morning I spent talking to a school about starting computer classes for the teachers. I established that I would come once a week to begin with and I didn't want a class of more than 5 teachers. I asked the school's director what the computer literacy level and she said it was all over the map so this should be interesting. I'm going to create a lesson plan that's just turning the computer in and talking about the different parts of a computer. Hopefully I can handle that. Luckily Chris gave me a PC developed computer terms in French guide which will surely be invaluable. I obviously will not be doing this in Wolof. Wolof doesn't even have the words to explain computers. I also learned at this meeting that I need to be firm when it comes to extending my help to people. The director asked me outright what other services I could provide. I had to explain that I'm still in training and my language isn't that great so for the time being I just want to come once a week and do computers. She really pressed me though and I needed to be firm about everything. It was a good lesson and I'm glad Chris was there to back me up.

On my way back home I took the new path that I found a few days ago... or at least I thought I did. Yeah, I got a little lost again. The hilarious thing was I came out on the main road in a familiar place. Hearken back to last week when I journeyed through the Thies desert with my broken bike in the desperate search for my house. This time I was able to look at a sign and see the general direction of the roundabout that eventually led me home the last time and I started walking. In about 5 minutes I was at my house!!! OMG! That means I walked around in a huge circle for 1.5 hours last week when I was quite literally only a few blocks away. I couldn't believe it. The poor Senegalese man who tried to help me! We were so close and I led him so far astray. At least I now know the way that particular curvy non-road works now. I felt very stupid yet victorious at the same time. Odd.

Back at home pretty much everyone was taking a nap in their rooms except the two maids so I sat around helping them with lunch. My main job was to sit there and sort through rice. Yup, Senegal grows high quality up north, but they export it and then import broken rice full of rocks from Asia. No joke. Every day my sisters sit with a big bowl of rice sorting through to find all the rocks. This is important since my friend Katherine has already chipped a tooth because of rocks in rice. It's obviously an incredibly tedious task and exceedingly boring, but it's one that takes no skill so I'm pretty good at it and my sisters obviously appreciated that they didn't have to do it. I also did a bunch of dishes of my own initiative which completely blew their minds. Hey, I have nothing else to do and it feels good to actually help out and lighten the load.

My afternoon was really pretty boring. I've been exhausted so I just kind of hung out in my room and tried to nap, but I couldn't because the humidity is out of control right now. I read a little bit, looked at my accounting books (can you believe I have to/ actually am looking at accounting books again?, and talked to Leigh on Skype! Yay! And Kristen on gchat! Yay! Everyone should get Skype; it's awesome.

My one thought provoking observation for the day:
I was subjected to Senegalese music videos today. I can't really describe how incredibly terrible they are. I don't watch music videos in the States, so I definitely don't want to watch Senegalese rap videos here. The one thing that I did notice was that the videos here are very realistic. Someone is carrying a gas tank on their head (totally normal), a woman is walking with a baby on her back in a village of thatch huts (got it), and a group of boys are making tea (currently happening at my house). In the US music videos and rap videos in particular are usually over the top aspirational. Big cars, audacious jewelry, and luxury yatchs are the norm. It was really interesting to watch video after video that was so ordinary.

And more pictures are up! My new bungalow is now on display for all of you. I made a new album called "Swear-In to IST," and the old pictures are still up too. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. It's so fun to see "Chez Alyssa." Who knew your first "apartment" would be Thies Senegal?!! D.C., NYC, maybe Chicago or L.A. but Thies Senegal? Congrats it looks really cute and I love the decorating!