Monday, December 7, 2009

Tournee Day 4: Velingara and Kounkane

December 3, 2009

Today was the day of the tournee that I was really looking forward to. Everyone has told me that Kolda is beautiful and the scenery is very different from the rest of the country. I had to wait the entire day to make it into the city of Kolda itself and it was twilight, but I would agree that it’s very beautiful.

The morning started out with bean sandwiches, an excellent way to start a day, and we went to Velingara to do a school project management formation. The formation was supposed to be about use of a future school computer lab. The room currently doesn’t have any electricity, the computers have not been purchased, and none of the teachers know how to use them. Interesting. Planning the install and potential pricing for adults and students outside of this school district was the purpose of the formation, but it quickly devolved into a shouting match among the various participants in the formation about who the computers were MORE for. The principal of the school seemed to want to charge outsiders a fee to use the lab while school was out or even after hours to create another revenue stream for the school. This idea sent other people off the deep end who thought that the computers should just be for the children of this particular school. Every single one of the approximately 20 people in the room had to say their piece in a very long winded manner. I was really bored and I felt badly for the volunteer since the meeting didn’t achieve its purpose.

The trip was salvage when we got to visit the preschoolers at the school. They were adorable.

This afternoon we made our way to Kounkane to do a leadership formation for a women’s group who dyes fabric and makes completes (traditional Senegalese top/ skirt outfits) to sell at the market. Just like the juice formation before it, this formation was interesting because it was a single groupment and all the women had the same goals. It was also interesting to watch Talla explain the responsibilities of the president, treasurer, and secretary and see the face of the president fall as she realized that she has actual responsibilities instead of just having a cool title. I think she got the point by the end that she needs to step it up.

The drive from Kounkane to Kolda was very different. The trees became much denser and there were a lot more palm trees. We also saw monkeys, which got me really excited! The goats and sheep of Thies are just common roadblocks these days, but monkeys in the middle of the road is a new experience all together. It was pretty cool.

Adama and Talla dropped me off at the Kolda regional house which is very nice and I collapsed on the couch. There were a couple of girls in the house and we hung out a little bit, but they were busy so I read and made dinner... When I say I made dinner, I mean I boiled water and put it into a bag. In the States I'm completely against meals in bags, or boxes, or anything that doesn't involve something fresh and me taking the time to cook it, but this is Peace Corps Africa. When my grandma and dad were in Denver visiting my brother they picked up some freeze dried camping food, which I have to admit I have been dreading eating. I brought out the bag of freeze dried beef teriyaki, and made an excuse about how I got it in a package, but don't usually like things like this, but thought I would try it. It was obvious that the other girls had had these meals and liked them.

I boiled some water and 9 minutes later presto! I had beef teriyaki. It pains me to say this, but my meal in a bag tasted like a little bit of heaven, which I shared with the other girls and then went to bed.

1 comment:

  1. Alyssa,

    Always remember, your dad is a terrific shopper, since he won't cook and couldn't send cereal.