Friday, November 20, 2009


Apart from President Obama, Matt just may be the most famous American within my Senegalese community here in Thies. The absolute first question I get when someone meets me is if I'm married. While I tell taxi drivers and myriads of other strangers that I am because it's easier, I tell people that I want to form an actual relationship with that I have a boyfriend because it's true and because I want to show people who can be a young independent women who does not need the financial support of a man.

This morning I went to Keur Yaay for the English class and I'm really starting to get to know and really enjoying seeing the women who come every time. One in particular named Fatou is awesome and I love her. I walk in and after the usual pleasantries she inquires about "Mattchew." She's already told me that she plans to steal my American boyfriend and move to the US because nothing is more desirable than an American boyfriend... especially one who has a job! Fatou is hilarious. She's 27 and trying to complete her high school degree on her own through tutors and through classes at Keur Yaay. She's a spitfire, she's smart, and we already have a good joking report. He also has the most ridiculous weave I've ever seen. 2 points for that.

Emily has also started to come to English class because it's fun and the women are approximately our age and super nice. Now all the women are trying to get Emily to give them Matt's phone number. It's completely out of control and really funny. I'm planning on taking pictures in on Monday so they can put a name to a face. They could really care less about my family and my friends only "Mattchew" sorry to everyone else.

Finally we settle down into the English class and the teacher sees what I had taught on Tuesday when he didn't show because no one erased it. Not good. He then picks apart what I wrote trying to find fault and confusing everyone in the room including Emily and I. He's obviously threatened by us being there, which I can completely understand, but he's also not open to advice. He still does the thing where he claims there are multiple pronunciations of words such as Monday when there are not. He also tells Emily and I he's teaching British English whenever we try to correct grammar, but he's really just making an error. It's a precarious line we're trying to walk and I still haven't figured out what to do. What is for sure is that the girls love when Emily and I teach and they can ask questions and we can go over phrases and pronunciations that they are having difficulty with as well as learn whatever they want. I stayed after the class for 1/2 an hour to work with them and it was really fun. Instead of doing computer stuff on Monday afternoons we're going to do English revision since most of them are trying to finish high school and pass the exam on their own in June.

Tonight was spent out with friends. All of the PCVs who had additional Wolof training are back in Thies for the night and I met up with them, not at chicken dibi (sad face), for a debrief of their week. It was really nice to see people as it always is and it was really interesting to hear peoples' perspectives of our experience thus far who are outside my inner circle. I came away being really happy. No one tonight was really struggling with their site, but people didn't seem as content as I was. I think a lot of people were expecting to be in a little village in the middle of no where and they're not. That's not what I ever wanted. I, unlike a lot of people here, signed up to be a business volunteer and wanted to be in a city that had amenities. Not only am I happy about my placement, but that during PST while I was so miserable and didn't think I would make that I was able to vocalize what I wanted and that Peace Corps really listened to what I had to say. Regardless, it was a good day filled with what I felt was progress at Keur Yaay and some fun out on the town.

I can't wait until Thanksgiving!


  1. As part of their English education can your Keur Yaay class film a "Mattchew girl" video for UTUBE aka Obama Girl? Fatou can be the lead.

  2. Alyssa,

    I am a blog post late but congratulations on reaching your milestone 100th post plus one. Keep up the good work. M played fairly well and did not embarass themselves other than be losing.