Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fact Finding Mission

January 19, 2010

Erratic internet service is preventing me from posting regularly...

I woke up still feeling sick and definitely crotchety and my walk to Keur Yaay did not help. I have a bad habit which is when a boy/ man comes up to me and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is that I’m beautiful I instantly shut down. I have no desire to hear what he has to say next because I don’t feel as though he’s treating me as an equal and I just want to get away. Well, this happened on the way to Keur Yaay this morning and it ended up we were walking the same direction and this man, approximately my age, attempted to draw me into conversation the entire way. I realize that this instant creation of a wall reaction is probably not culturally sensitive nor is it all that polite, but I can’t help it. I don’t want to be seen as a piece of white meat walking down the street and I have little confidence someone really wants to get to know me when the opening line is “you’re so beautiful.” I also got two “I have children give me money,” and one “please take my baby you have money,” so when I got to Keur Yaay I wasn’t in the best of moods.

Obviously, the English teacher was an hour late again and then tried to convince me that you spell Sunday with an O. I wont go into further details.

Next up, typing class. Mme. Cisse is the only student who still comes and since we finished the typing games, I’ve had to create a real lesson plan. Unfortunately, Mme. Cisse doesn’t want to take the time to actually learn how to use Microsoft Word. I think this situation is just a snapshot of a larger problem with development work in Africa. I showed Mme. Cisse how to highlight text, change the font color, change font type and size etc. She diligently practiced each thing once and then wanted to move on. She has little curiosity in learning she just wants to know and she thinks that I should be able to go through everything once and she’ll get it. She doesn’t want to practice or take a minute to soak in the information. She sees other people doing it so she should be able to instantly do it as well. She’s trying to force me to teach her all these things quickly, but she still can’t manipulate a mouse all that well. It’s just a constant request for X (for knowledge, resources etc) and then it’s dropped. It’s not sustainable and today I didn’t feel like our lesson was particularly sustainable. I need to figure out a way that will make her take her time and practice.

This afternoon I once again called someone in the mayor’s office and requested a meeting with someone who could help Emily and I with our PC questionnaires for the next part of our training. We walk into the Hotel de Ville and talk with the guards for a little bit and they have no idea who I’m referencing when I tell them the name of the man I’ve spoken with the past two days… interesting. They are super excited that we speak Wolof and we tell them our questions and they take us right down the hall for the person who is in charge of all the demographic information in Thies. Perfect. To make the situation even more amazing the man who we’re taken to see used to be a language instructor for the Peace Corps.

Mr. Fall was awesome. He answered all of our questions and explained even more to us. It was great and really helped me turn my day around! The other thing that really helped me elevate my mood was a package from Ma! Yay! Grandma, thank you so much for all the goodies and I’m keeping the wrapped presents until tomorrow so I have something to open on my birthday! I’ve of course already opened the Jelly Beans. Those are just too good to save!

Additionally, my dinner consisted of pasta, bread, and fries...


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  2. Word on the street is it's your birthday. So happy birthday! I'm proud of the amazing things you're doing. And eagerly anticipating you joining the ranks of evil lawyers so we can plot world domination together. -Jay

  3. Alyssa,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Stay motivated and excited and good things will happen. For Mme. Cisse start some type of game that she will be rewarded by doing items multipe times. I know this may mean reaching into your stash but it could be a good use of your food stuffs. Again Happy Birthday.


  4. Have a great day Alyssa, its great to hear about you! Taylor and Jake are absolutely enthralled in your daily routines and lifestyle! Thanks!



  5. Alyssa,

    Great pictures, you are lucky that you didn't burn town Chicken Dibi. When they put onl all the candles, it can be a little scary.