February 10, 2009
I slept at my house last night instead of at the center and had to bring a huge bag from my house to the center for another volunteer who will remain nameless (Kaththerine). I thought I had plenty of time in the morning, but apparently when one attempts to get a cab early in the morning in Thies it’s impossible. I finally secured a cab after 20 minutes and arrived at the center just as the last car was being packed with people for our field trip. I threw said volunteer’s bag at the guards and told them to watch it and then threw myself into the car. Obviously, the rapidity with which I accomplished these tasks was irrelevant since I sat in the car another 20 minutes before we actually left.
Our field trip was to the Ag teacher’s farm so we could all practice creating permagardens. Permagardens involve digging a bunch of trenches to collect water and then double digging aka digging deep into the earth to get to actual soil instead of sand and then putting tons of ash, charcoal, and manure into the trench and mixing it around so everything is fertile. We also had to take a lot of leaves, pluck them off their branches and throw them into the trenches with the rest of the “ingredients” to fertile soil. I will admit that I was on leaf duty for most of the day because as many of you can imagine people starting laughing at me when I attempted to use a pick although I was pretty awesome with the hand ho.
I found the morning session interesting and playing in the dirt for a short period of time made me feel very Peace Corps and like I was doing something, but lugging water around, getting dirty, and touching manure soon grew to be fairly tedious for me and the afternoon wasn’t nearly as invigorating even though we planted some papaya trees, tomatoes, corn, chives, and other things that I’m forgetting. Our garden did look fairly impressive by the time we were done and I think we are even going back to work on it a little more tomorrow. After today’s experiences it is obvious that I am not an agriculture volunteer nor was I ever meant to be one, but I really appreciate how they work their asses off and get dirty… even though walking the streets of Thies does leave me ridiculously sandy and filthy by the end of the day.
The other highly important and constructive project I worked on today was my sweet costume for WAIST (West African Intramural Softball Tournament). The Dakar region’s theme is wrestlers and me and my friends took the theme one step further and are being American Gladiator wrestlers. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we are going to have the best costumes around. Pictures will obviously go up later and I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but glitter, puff paints, ribbon, and sweat bands are all involved. I will also divulge my wrestling name because it will only be funny to PCVs in Senegal and I want to make sure I immortalize it for all of eternity. My wrestling name is “The Rains” because people hear use “the rains” as a common phrase for both the actual event of raining as well as the season in which it sometimes rains. Trust me, this is a hilarious name.
I’m back at the bungalow now, but ate an amazing chicken dinner at the center, getting ready to head back to Dakar tomorrow.
Messy, but Warm
11 months ago