Monday, November 9, 2009


Today the stars aligned and created a day that made me remember why I joined Peace Corps and why I am going to live here for the next two years instead of fleeing back to the US and all things luxurious.

I woke up and saw that we had water, which I deemed a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I obviously don't like to sleep caked in a mixture of my own sweet and dirt and I like to drink water, but a curse because now I had no excuse to not exercise. After several minutes of wrestling with myself I decided to suck it up and go for a run on a new path in an attempt to find an artist atelier I had met on site visits. I knew the general direction, which means nothing since I get lost trying to get back to my house (in the US I do have a good sense of direction), and I set off on my way. I thought it was pretty close so after running for a while I almost turned back until I thought that I saw a familiar intersection. The best part about this intersection was that it was actually familiar and I found the atelier! I was so excited and proud of myself. Since I was a hot, sweety mess I resolved to return in the afternoon.

After a shower aka bucket bath I headed out to the post office. I had bought a plethora of stamps through the Peace Corps so this was my first time making a purchase at the post office instead of just picking up packages and it was a little intimidating since people just mash up against the windows and it doesn't seem like there is a line. While it is a mob, not a line, everyone knows who is in front of who and no one cuts. It's actually pretty impressive. I successfully mailed a couple of post cards and got some stamps, no letters though... tear. Sorry this was really exciting to me, but now that I've read it, it's a little lame.

Next I was off to meet some other PCVs for lunch. I really like that everyone calls me when they come into Thies although I do feel a little guilty leaving my family and having so much America time, but I rationalized this by promising myself that I would push myself and go back to the atelier. Lunch was really fun and it's nice to get to know people in different stages since I really only know my group. Plus we went to a new restaurant and I had some spring rolls, which almost satisfied the Asian craving I've been having for the last 2.5 months. I might have also had a beignet stuffed with custard... hey, I went on a run today.

After lunch and getting a yogo glace, which we ate inside the Total gas station because it is air conditioned, I walked back in the direction of the Thies garage/ my house with one of the boys and contemplated not going to the atelier because it was going to be hard and I was having such a good day and I didn't want to ruin it, but I forced myself to go and I'm so happy I did.

Two guys were sitting outside the atelier drinking tea, eating peanuts, and playing amazing music on the guitar. We were off to a good start. They were super nice and really helped me with Wolof and told me that the owner/ artist was teaching a class but would soon be back. The owner, Dioss, returned and remembered my name (the Senegalese have great memories) from village visit and was super excited to see me. I knew from my previous visit that he really has his act together and he wants me to help him with a strategy for selling some holiday cards he made, which are fantastic. He also wants me to come to the school where he teaches art classes and talk about being an entrepreneur. He was just really excited and had concrete plans and it was great to feel needed and that I could make a difference. It's definitely a place I want to hang out. They helped me with my Wolof and they are just cool guys. Also, another friend who was there owns a boutique and a gas station and he wants my help with marketing and merchandising!

On my way home, I was just praying my family would be in a good mood because I wanted to keep the ball rolling. Deenaba is back and everyone is obviously happy. It means Jeenaba has less work and is happier, and everything runs more smoothly, which in turn makes every happy.

My dad also got home early and I took it as an opportunity to ask him about business in Senegal and timeliness. He works for an international corporation in Dakar and I wanted his opinion on the contentious matter. I explained the situation that my work partner is often late and it makes us late for our work and it frustrates me. My dad was very firm in admonishing my work partner as unprofessional. He stated that he leaves at 4:30 am for Dakar every day because he would be very embarrassed and it would negatively impact his career if he was late. He believes timeliness is a sign of respect and that it's impossible to effectively do your job if your always late. He dismissed the idea that the Senegalese system must run at its own pace and thinks that there are global best business practices. Not only did this help me sort out my feelings about business and time here in Senegal, but I also got to talk to my dad for 20 minutes which was cool.

What could possibly make this day better? CHICKEN. Yeah, we had roasted chicken for dinner and it was delectable. I'm hoping today will serve as a beacon of light in my darkest hours and that it will remind me to just go and see what's out here because I may be surprised about the work opportunities.


  1. Just looked at a few of your pictures from Thies. Brings back some memories - was a volunteer 94-97 and stayed another year on my own.

    Enjoy your time there.

  2. That's my girl!!!! Stayin' sassy!