I forced myself to leave my bungalow and go on a run. The thing that actually made me leave my bed was the fact I had to pick up a phone charger that was left at the center. On my way there I ran into a third year volunteer who lives in Thies and upon arrival I realized that some people including Tamar still had not left the center so I ended up taking a very long break in the middle of my run that I filled with lounging and eating an entire loaf of village bread, so much for the effort to exercise off some ceebu jenn. I also walked all the home since I had to buy a few other things in order to break a bill so I could buy some village bread. Oh well.
The afternoon was much more productive. I went to see Dioss and I have to say that I am very impressed. Setting aside the fact that our conversation at one point digressed into a Dioss soliloquy about he's aghast I don't have wedding bells constantly ringing in my head and that I'm enjoying being an independent lady (he's 15 years older than me and still unmarried), we had a really productive afternoon. Before my training for Peace Corps started, I gave Dioss some of the French business manuals so he could read about accounting and he really did his homework.
He does have some incentive. There is a possibility that he could export some of his cards to the US. I've told him that this is impossible unless he has solid books and we work on actually costing his cards and paintings. Currently he sets prices randomly although I do think he's making fairly good money. The accounting ledger I created for him before training was maintained to my surprise. He did a really good job with it. He's still having some problems with correct notation of goods. He will credit 50k worth of sales on a particular day, but I have no idea if that sale was all in cards or if he sold a bigger piece so we really need to work on inventory, but other than that he did a great job with the accounting aspect and I was really impressed.
A huge part of his success with the accounting is the fact that he opened a second bank account, which is probably my proudest accomplishment as a Peace Corps volunteer. He opened the second account so he could keep track of his business finances and keep personal money separate. Dioss was obviously proud of himself as he showed me his new bank card and described how when he needs more paint he goes to the bank and takes out just enough to buy the required paint. He has totally changed his behavior in regards to money and he's really excited about it. He was flabbergasted by the amount of money he saved last month since when family would come over and ask him for money he could honestly tell them that he didn't have any... because it was all at the bank. Dioss has realized that by saving his money and putting it in the bank he will be able to afford getting a new computer and internet put into his house and maybe even get a printer so he can print greetings in his cards.
I'm really, really impressed with how much he listened to me. Although I was really annoyed when he went off on his marriage tangent, he did reveal that he used to be really immature and that he never listened to advice that anyone gave him, but that he trusts me and can already see the positive affects of my advice. Don't worry, I wont let this get to my head. Senegal never fails to put me in my place on a daily basis.
One more awesome thing that Dioss has done is get plastic sleeves for all of his cards and some of his smaller paper paintings. I pointed out to him that when he stacks his paintings the paint sometimes rubs off on the back of the card or painting next to it and it looks a little unprofessional. Well, he now has plastic sleeves and everything looks awesome. I'm really excited about it. I'm also excited about all the business ventures he told me about today. He has cards and paintings at several boutique hotels in Mbour and oddly enough a car dealership in Dakar. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if all of these ideas pan out when we're finished with costing and have a better accounting system.
In completely unrelated news, it's 9:30pm and I have eaten dinner yet and I'm starving!
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago