Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Call Waiting

Highlight of my day: Going to this really good and pretty cheap crepe restaurant with Tamar for lunch and talking while sitting under an air conditioner.

The rest of my day was spent calling phone numbers that either don't exist or the owners of said phone lines don't want to talk to me. I'm currently in Dakar working on a project to compile data on NGOs in Senegal so volunteers have something like an encyclopedia to search for funding and help with their projects. I spent today trying to set up meetings to go talk to NGOs about their past successful projects, funding sources, and where the NGOs operate in Senegal. I spent most of the day at 0 for 6, but near closing time I finally secured a meeting for Friday afternoon and I resorted to calling another volunteer to track down another NGO president so I ended the day at 2 for 6. I'm hoping to get some more tomorrow so that my trip wasn't in vain, but I think that I'll have a lot more success with the NGOs in Thies because I'll be able to just walk in and see if anyone is available to talk to and it should be easier to set up meetings. I say this now...

One interesting aside about phone calls in Senegal: Many people do what's called a beep-beep. In Senegal all the phones use pre-paid credit therefore when you run out of credit your call drops and you have to buy more credit. People will "beep-beep" you when they have no credit or they just want you to call them back so you have to use your credit. I personally refuse to call anyone who beep-beeps me out of sheer principle unless it's Khady or my mom and I find the practice generally annoying. Regardless, I thought that since I was calling everyone that they would pick up and we could have a conversation. This is not so. Apparently, many professionals wont pick up the phone or even forward you to voice mail unless they recognize your number. So, yeah, I spoke with practically no one today.

Although I had a fairly unproductive and frustrating day, it did end pretty well. I'm staying at my boss' house to enjoy a real bed, a shower, and some peace and quiet and I also had lasagna with salad and wine for dinner. Nicole, my boss, also had company over and we had a really interesting conversation about the French/ Senegalese vs. the American system of standardized testing and college entrance exams. Random, but interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with that "beep-beep" thing! Wish I would have thought of that!