Yup, I'm actually doing it. I'm taking the plunge. Starting August 12th I will be in Senegal working as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The West African Invitational Softball Tournament is really something that must be experienced first hand, but I will valiantly attempt to recreate the events of the past couple of days.
WAIST Day 1 The first day of WAIST Tamar, Jackie, Katherine and I dressed in full WAIST wrestling attire for the first time. It was awesome. I hope that the photo shoot of Jackie and I in our full get-up helps to convey the spirit and ridiculousness of WAIST. I also have to give a special shout out to Jackie because she undoubtably had the best costume. Her wrestling shorts are sheer genius. The Dakar region boys also looked fantastic in their full body spandex ensembles. While I am biased to my own region's costumes the other theme's included Kolda in their Country Club finery, Kaolack as lumberjacks with suspenders, the North as mimes, and a Tamba/ Kadagou combo in pre-historic animal print outfits. It should also be mentioned that while Peace Corps teams dress up in outlandish costumes there are American Ex-pat/ Embassy teams as well as Senegalese national teams who dress normally and are not intoxicated for five days straight.
Game 1 The Dakar region game opener was against Kolda. They aren't good and weren't pretending that they were good so it was a fun game. Dakar region PCV team 1-0.
Game 2 Our second game of the day was against the A team from Mali. Let's just say they took the game slightly more seriously than we were and the heckling got a little out of control especially when we went down big, but we pulled off a stunning comeback to tie the game. Unfortunately, WAIST games are played for time so the tie stood and we ended the day 1-0-1.
Downtime at WAIST isn't really downtown. Between games one takes part in a number of activities which include, but are not limited to eating vast quantities of imported American junk food, drinking, gorging on salads and chicken, drinking, laying in the sun and getting sunburned, drinking, playing volleyball, drinking, swimming, drinking, heckling/ cheering for other teams, and drinking. Luckily there are two brackets of teams, social and competitive, so depending on what one chooses to do in one's downtown there are different leagues.
To add an additional level of difficulty to softball playing every night after being in the sun all day, there is a massive party that all the volunteers from around Senegal and West Africa attend to mingle, blow off some steam, and have fun. I wont go into details about my nighttime wanderings...
WAIST Day 2 Game 1 A re-match with Kolda. By this time in the tournament it's become apparent that the Dakar region team is the only PC Senegal team that could potentially make it to the final day of play and into a potential championship game. Therefore, Kolda was generous enough to forfeit to us, which gave our team 15 runs. This obviously happened after we played around on the field for our allotted hour by attempted to play softball with a football and acting ridiculous.
Game 2 Dakar region's second game of the day was against a Senegalese national team which is coached by a not very nice French man. Animosity was incredibly high as the two teams battled it out to go to the finals. I will admit that I made a sweet double play playing second base. Unfortunately, my amazing softball skills weren't enough to save our team from the unsportsmanlike conduct of our competitors. Several of our pitchers were having problems throwing into the strike zone (I have no idea why) so the other team walked in 10 runs because they refused to swing at anything. The tournament is supposed to be fun and a source of comraderie between the ex-pats and host country nationals, but this team did not have a fun spirit. Boo. We lost and were therefore out of the tournament.
WAIST Day 3 Day 3 started with the social bracket championship. Peace Corps Gambia made us all proud by beating an ex-pat team and a ridiculously good Senegalese team won the competitive championship.
To signify the end of the WAIST and the start of the period of detox for most PCVs, most people attend a banquet after the finals. Indian food was being catered in addition to good wine so we obviously went.
A good time was definitely had by all.
I'm back in Thies now for about three more weeks of training with the rest of my stage.
Totally unrelated shout outs!!!!! Before I left for Dakar I ran into the post office and had a lot of mail, but I haven't had time to do shout outs until now.
Shout out to Aunt Diane and Family! I loved my belated birthday package. The iTunes gift card has already been used extensively to make WAIST dance party mixes and I can't wait to go see Dioss and play the awesome tapes you sent me. Too funny. A true blast from the past!
Shout out to Ma! Grandma, thank you so much for the Valentines day package. It had a bunch of my favorite things and Ahmed LOVED the cookie and the M&Ms. In case you were wondering, the little tin that the cookie came it can be used both as a frisbee and a crayon container. Very useful. Thanks!
Shout out to Lynn. Thanks for the letter and good luck at your boating classes.
Shout out to Shirley for another great letter!
A Very Special SHOUT OUT to Rachel for sending me a post card in October! For some reason it went to the training center and I just got it! My friends and I got a great laugh out of the pictures of the markets in Hungary... just a little different from those in Senegal!
The new pictures are up. They are in a new album called "WAIST and On" enjoy!
PCV Alyssa Titche Corps de la Paix B.P. 957 Thiès, Senegal West Africa
* Make sure it's "Par Avion" by Air and that there's a sticker * Please put insurance on packages and even letters because customs officers will rip open both looking for goods and cash * If you are amazing and sending me a package write "Religious Materials" or "Personal Products" on the outside to further deter customs officials, also it is best to buy a flat rate box to reduce the custom fees I have to pay on my end! * Number your letters so I know if I'm missing one as mail will probably take 2-3 weeks to get from you to me
I also have Skype so make me one of your contacts. My Skype name is: alyssatitche
Cell Phone! Call me on Skype! 221-77-330-48-40
Wish List: Goodies, Treats... and Necessities
100 Calorie Packs
Jiff Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
Mixed CDs (Leigh and Alex sent one and it was AMAZING)