Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Today was one of those days. I woke up in not so great of a mood and the days events didn't really help the situation. The first little episode was my fault. A few days ago my flip flops broke and instead of just wearing another pair of flip flops or buying a new pair, I decided to "fix" the broken pair with a crappy piece of wire I found on the ground. Why did I do this? I have no idea. Anyway, I set out for the post office, I had written a letter and intended to mail it to give myself a sense of accomplishment for the morning, and half way up my street my sandal broke again and I had to walk back home shoe in hand to get another pair. This made several peoples' day along the way and Deenba laugh out loud when I came in wearing one shoe.

New shoes on feet, I headed back out to the post office. On my way I ran into a group of small children who I guessed to be around 3 or 4 years old, not one of them looked older or was physically bigger than Ahmed. I greeted the little kids and was walking past them when one of the boys lets out this angry scream and I turn around to see that he’s brandishing a knife. This is not a joke. I really wasn’t scared in this situation for two reasons: 1. After living here for several months I know that there really isn’t a single sharp knife in this country and 2. The kid was three, if he was 10 it may have been a different story, but I thought I could probably take a three year old. I stopped and apologized for scaring him and told him my name and said that we could be friends. To this, he responded by running at me screaming with the knife stuck out in his hand. I pretty much just walked away from the situation since there were no adults around to complain to, but it was fairly unnerving, annoying, and just so so so frustrating. It’s very difficult to be the bad guy all the time.

Finally, I make it to the post office. Unfortunately, the letters and the packages are in two separate buildings so my friends from packages can’t really help me when I’m buying stamps and mailing letters. The letter side of the post office is miserable. It’s crowded, there’s no order, and I buy stamps in bulk so I don’t have to deal with it very often. This morning the chaos was in full force. All I wanted to do was send my letter. After having a very lengthy conversation with the guy behind the desk about how many stamps I wanted, where I was sending the letter, why I wanted so many stamps when I only had one letter, and then a whole diatribe how I couldn’t have the 550 CFA stamps I requested because there isn’t a 550 CFA although I had explicitly requested ten 500 CFA stamps and ten 50 CFA stamps he leaves me at the desk for several minutes, goes into a back room, and comes out to inform me that there are no stamps. I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but I have a feeling there were just no stamps for toubabs speaking in Frolof. Luckily, I had a letter from Shirley! Thank you Shirley! So the trip wasn’t a total waste, but I do have to go back at some point and get more stamps.

The afternoon was a little bit of a pick-me-up because I went to the center to hear the new stage’s site announcements. It’s really exciting to see where everyone’s going even if my region is only getting two new volunteers. I’ve also been able to lay really low at home because Khady took Ahmed to Dakar and Mami went back to Mbour where she trains most of the time at a basketball academy.

Tomorrow is another day and I hope it is a much, much, much better day.

Update: As I was attempting to write this our power went out, it looks like we’re back on a daily schedule of blackouts, and my day was salvaged. My mom was in the most hilarious mood and she started telling all the women who were sitting around cooking that all the neighborhood women came over to our house today to tell my mom that I was walking with only one shoe. Oh, she loved it and thought it was the most hilarious thing. She then went on a long tangent about how they MUST braid my hair – this is not happening. And then we ate in dinner in pieces as it was ready because my mom was starving. It goes to show that your interactions with people during your service totally make and break everything.

…and Happy Birthday Aunt Diane.


  1. Tomorrow is an event sponsored by Tom's shoes called 'One Day Without Shoes." Many people in the States are going barefoot tomorrow to raise awareness about poor people in Africa, like you, who have no shoes or broken shoes. I'm not kidding...tomorrow tens of thousands of people on college campuses all over the world will be supporting your suffering! You must become a member of the FB page. I love your African mom because she is so good to you and she is truly a woman of humor. You are my hero Bun! YOu are fierce and I know you could take that 3 year old. Chin up! Remember we are all going shoeless for you tomorrow!

  2. I hadn't heard about the 'One Day Without Shoes' until this post -- what a great idea. Sitting in an office building in Memphis just thinking about the obstacles of going shoeless for a day brought more awareness to me of the issue. My next pair of shoes is coming from Tom's :-)

    Mom of a future PCV (in some French speaking African country in September)

    Alyssa - just wanted to say again that your blog posts are really well written and interesting.