Monday, November 2, 2009

Goes Down Cold

Village water that is. Yes, my mother is going to have a heart attack because today was the first day I took the plunge and drank water with ice out of a rusty tomato paste can. Hey, everyone's doing it! Today in the village I ran out of water and in some small villages you can't buy water, so I had no choice but to pucker up and drink up. The best part about this whole experience was that it took place in some random old man's room. Chris and I were walking around during a break from our meeting attempting to find some lunch because we didn't think we were going to get fed when an old man invites us to his house. We enter his room (check out the new pictures) and I'm completely terrified about what we're going to be fed and Chris is just happy that he gets to eat and have some amazingly good ceebu jenn. I was really surprised how good it was. We also had cold water out of a rusty tomato can, which is the cup of choice throughout Senegal. I kid you not.

My GI system is currently intact and I'm hoping I make it through the night. Throughout training I did drink bissap juice that my home stay family made from tap water so I'm hoping that I have built up a slight immunity and that there was no Giardia present in the water because then I would be screwed. This lovely event happened at about 1, but the morning started much, much, earlier...

We get to the office at 9:30 and wait the requisite hour before anything happens. I'm already worried about the day because I know we are attempting to go to two villages and then Diof tells us we're going to try and make it to a third. I know this is impossible. Anyway, at 10:30 we finally leave the office (thank you again for all the magazines!) and go to the bank because Diof needs to go to the bank. Chris and I wait outside... for another hour! I'm really angry at this point because I could have slept in and taken a run and just not waited around all morning. I resolve to tell Diof I'm not going to the village, but then Tamar calls, which was wonderful, and I got distracted and dragged to another office. Finally, I tell Diof I'm not coming and he tells me that I am even though I came up with a great excuse. I couldn't really fight it and resigned myself to being pissed off all day.

I did tell Diof that I would appreciate it if in the future he could do his personal errands without me. He proceeds to wax on about how he didn't know it was going to take so long blah blah blah and that's crap because everyone knows at the beginning of the month banks are out of control because everyone is paid at the end of the month. He just tells me I have to get used to Senegalese people always being late or having something better to do. I retort that Senegalese people are always on time to their prayers at the mosque and to meals so they can be on time to other things to. I am going to refuse to work with people who are late. Plain and Simple. If they want to work with me they will come and if not then they aren't motivated enough and I don't want to work with them anyway. So there. Sorry for the rant... Diof just laughed at me. We didn't leave Thies until 12:30 a bad omen for actually get back at a decent hour/ going to all the villages.

Back in the village, we are finishing lunch with the random guy when I get a phone call... it's Diof and the women's group prepared us lunch. We had to eat again, but it was good so it was Ok.

Luckily, the president of the women's group is well educated and is going to do the accounting formation with the women at a later date since they all waited for us throughout the morning and we didn't get there until the early afternoon. Therefore, we really didn't do anything except sit there as the token toubabs as Diof talked about the millet machine and how great it was going to be. Then we were off to the second village where pretty much the same sequence of events occurred.

Although I was really annoyed that I got dragged to the village today, I'm really happy that we have all of these formations. Not only does it give me something to do before I go back for more training in February, but I also get to see the village life I'm missing out on by living in Thies. Plus, the countryside is breathtaking, just spectacular. Without these little visits I really would have no idea since I lived in a pretty big town during home stays and now I'm in the second biggest city in Senegal. So, I'm complaining, but it's still good.

Getting home was quite the adventure. We took a cab to Toubatoul, the village we visited today, because we were late but couldn't get one back to Thies so we had to take a bus, which stopped every 12 feet. It took a really long time which sucked because I was absolutely covered in red dust/ dirt from driving around these villages and all I wanted to do was take a shower, which was made extremely difficult when I got home because we didn't have power. Story of my life. Obviously and luckily the power is back on, I'm clean, and we're having omelets for dinner.

I'm completely exhausted and need to call it a night after I write a lesson plan for my computer class tomorrow! I'm sure it's going to be a disaster since it's the first time I'm flying solo, but I'm excited none the less. Wish me luck! And check out the new village pictures!


  1. Alyssa,

    So did the man sell you lunch or just provide lunch? I thought men did not wear shorts but one of the presentors looked like he had shorts on? What did the Arabic say since he made you read it? Was it of any interest or important for your meeting? It sounds and looks like you are fitting in well. Diof sounds like he may be interesting to work with long term. Will he be have as big of a role going forward?


  2. I sure hope your GI track hasn't taken it out on you that you were drinking from the rusty can!! Fortunately, tomatoes are acidic, so their can will kill all the germs... right?
    Good luck getting Diof to be on time. Let us know how that goes!

  3. Hi Alyssa, I work with your dad and I have been reading your blog. I love it! Anyway, I have a question. You know how you ask any American woman how they feel about their body and they will always have a handful of answers for you. (i.e. my nose is too pointy, my arms are flabby, my butt is too small, etc). Do the people over there deal with the same issues of negative body image?