Friday, August 13, 2010


It’s our one year Africanniversary today. Katherine brought me a gin shot in a bag to mark the occasion. I can’t believe that I have lived in Senegal for the past year. The past nine months have flown by. After PST ended in October, Peace Corps has actually become a mainly enjoyable experience. The miracle of my first year in Senegal and with Peace Corps is probably that I'm still here. Not even I thought I was going to make it through PST and talking with the new trainees who just arrived is reminder of how far I've come. I'm so happy that I stuck it out and am still here. Now that I'm more comfortable at site, have a better grasp on the language, and my body isn't in shock I'm very excited for the next year.

Being a part of PST has been really fun and it's amazing that I'm now somewhat of an expert on Senegalese culture or at least what to expect from Peace Corps and training. While I've come a long way there are also things I will never understand....

Mysteries of Senegal:
1. How Senegalese people are able to eat crusty French bread without making a mess while I make a bigger mess than Ahmed.
2. How cars are fixed when small pieces of metal and jammed under the hood. I've actually seen this multiple times and it astounds me every time.
3. How Senegalese people are so intimately in tune with the weather. I swear my mom during PST was like the character in Mean Girls who uses her breasts to predict the weather.
4. That incredibly small amount of water that Senegalese people drink in order to survive.
5. The optimism and understanding that pervades Senegalese culture
that vast majority of the time.

The past year has been amazing. I'm fairly certain I've learned more than I learned in four years of college. I've made life long friends, explored most of the country, traveled to Ghana, biked to a waterfall, been embarrassed and wrong more times that I can possibly count, grown to love another family, and have become extremely self-sufficient. I also know that I'm probably the most stubborn person in the world and can force myself to do anything. It has definitely been the adventure that I wanted.

Not to be super sappy, but thanks to everyone who's posted on my blog, sent me letters and packages, and tried to keep in touch! Another year to go and then I'll be back in the US eating and drinking to my heart's content!


  1. It is hard not to be super sappy when we stop and reflect on the past year. I cannot tell you the joy I feel when you describe your experience in the PC. You took a huge risk, sacrificed much and I am thrilled to hear it has paid off so manificently. One more year.....t minus 364! I must add, thank you for your service to our country Alyssa. What you are doing for Dioss and Ahmed is transformational. Friends for America. We need every one we can get!

  2. Happy Africanniversary! I'm so proud of you.

  3. Alyssa,

    I concur, happy anniversary. You have made it a full year and have learned a lot, had some fun and some pitfalls, but you have learned about yourself and that you can do anthing that you want to do. Keep having fun.