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.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Senegal at 50
Today is Senegalese Independence day and it turned out to be a pretty big event... at least on television. For the past week stadium style seating has been going up along the main road in Thies for what I assumed would be a parade today. I asked my family this morning if anyone was going to go, the answer was no, but they said that I could go by myself. No thank you. I did watch the parade in Dakar on TV and it was what you expect a parade to be. There was lots of marching, dancing, and delegations from other West African countries and France, and even some floats. I watched a LOT of TV today and the parade was just the beginning. We also watched some traditional Senegalese wrestling which featured a special guest at "halftime"... AKON! Yes, Akon is here so get excited. He didn't sign or perform, but he did do some commentating on the wrestling match and cruised around the stadium in his huge SUV. Fortunately, my family didn't ask if I know Akon which was a relief. To round out my TV viewing pleasure I just excused myself from a feature length Senegalese film, in Frolof, about wrestling with a love story wrapped up in it. I actually kind of enjoyed watching the movie since the actors were speaking in Wolof,but there were French subtitles.
As with most holidays here, the highlight is definitely the food and since today is a big deal Khady was forced to cook and she's a good cook. We killed two chickens so there was a lot for everyone and there were fries, lettuce, and onion sauce in the bowl. It was delicious.
The second highlight was the little Easter egg hunt that I did for Ahmed after lunch. My mom and grandma sent me ridiculous amounts of Easter candy, including eggs, so I attempted to explain the tradition to Ahmed which resulted in me giving up, handing him a bag, and telling him I hid candy around the courtyard and he had to find it. Needless to say he thought this was a great game and I'm assuming he's going to ask me to play it quite often now. My family did freak out when I busted out the Lindt chocolate bunnies because they had seen a commercial on TV for something very similar.
Now I'm exhausted and waiting around to see what happens. I find holidays fairly exhausting and frustrating here. Deenba and her boyfriend wanted me to go to a party with them tonight at his house, but now he's here and they keep acting like they're going to leave and then don't, but then they disappear. The problem is that I never know if people are just being nice to me and don't really want me to come or they want me to come to be the party novelty. I can't say that I particularly enjoy holidays it's just very awkward for me because no one ever gives a straight answer and I don't know what to do and I don't really enjoy going to homes I don't know where people are astounded that I speak Wolof and test me and then tell me I can't speak Wolof. I think alternating between hiding out with my door open and lights and laying on the couch watching the Frolof movie is probably the answer for what's going to happen for the rest of the night.
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)