Creating low expectations is the key to success for my Peace Corps experience. Therefore, today I really didn't expect the people at the Technical High School to remember that we had a meeting to talk about Junior Achievement. While I had set my expectations low, they decided to do the complete opposite and apparently think I'm the second coming. I thought I was meeting with two teachers, one of whom doesn't shake hands with women and I made the mistake of trying to shake his hand multiple times (embarrassing), to discuss how they thought Junior Achievement fits into their curriculum. What I got was not only a meeting with them, but also the principal of the school who is ALL about Junior Achievement. They are really excited and I'm really terrified.
The teachers and the principal decided that it would be best if I worked with people who had recently graduated, but have yet to find jobs. The vast majority of people who graduate from the technical high school want to be entrepreneurs, but are given no business training. That's supposedly where I come in. To say I'm intimidated would be the understatement of the century. With my limited language skills, even in French, this is going to be an uphill battle.
Luckily, the technical high school allows former students to use the machinery at the school to further their skills and their businesses. The goal of Junior Achievement is to teach business through the hands on experience of creating your own business. I'm adapting this slightly and hoping to take the people who show up to my formation next Monday down the path of creating a freelance business through the school for residents of Thies. The idea is that with marketing (no marketing currently exists) that we can inform people in Thies that they can get their cars, refrigerators, etc fixed at the technical high school for cheap. This idea has several benefits: A. I feel much more comfortable with marketing and strategy and B. I've proven myself to be an arts and crafts all-star here in Senegal.
I'm really, really, really nervous about how this is going to work out. I'm definitely intimidated by the students who are my age and that I wont be able to communicate well enough for them to learn anything/ not waste their time. Next week is just a meet and greet and explanation of Junior Achievement so hopefully I can handle that. I think this would be incredible with the program even quasi works so I'll keep plugging along.
Lunch was awesome. Khady cooked and we had lunch before 4pm which is a miracle unto itself and she made my favorite lunch. Guess what it's called. Homosexual rice. I kid you not. In Wolof, homosexual directly translates to a boy-girl and this dish is called boy-girl rice and it's delicious. Why is it called gay rice? Well, because it's rice which women like, but it's spicy like how men like it. No, it doesn't really make that much sense to me either. We've had this dish a couple of times, but I asked the name for the first time today and when my mom said it I gave her a quizzical look and she thought I didn't understand. I explained that I did, but I thought I had misheard. This made everyone erupt in laughter. It's just so funny when the toubab gets the joke. The other great part about the meal was this delicious sauce Khady made. It was roasted tomatoes with hot pepper and onions and lots of MSG and it was great. It was also unbelievably spicy. No one else could eat and although I was crying throughout lunch it was too good not to eat. My family loved this. They couldn't get enough that I was crying and my nose was running, but that I kept eating. They pronounced me officially Senegalese and my mom shook her boob at me with love. It was a tender moment.
This afternoon, I laid low at home and deep cleaned my room. I got mad props for my efforts. Even Deenba said my skills are improving, which is a big complement because we joke around a lot. It was really hot today, but it's cooling down so I'm going to go help with dinner and watch some TV in preparation to teach Senegalese people marketing!
Messy, but Warm
6 months ago