Sunday, August 15, 2010

Walk Around

The new trainees were finally allowed outside of the utopia of the training center today and a bunch of PCVs led them around Thies for the first time. I played tour guide for the Health/EE PCTs when they arrived in March, but it's a lot more fun doing it with the SED/ Ag stage since I can answer a lot more of their questions and feel a greater connection with them. I've spent a lot of time at the center this week and answered a lot of questions. I'm trying to be brutally honest because that's what I was looking for while I was in PST, but at the same time to not sound as jaded as I actually am. It's a fine balance of explaining my personal experiences and making general, sweeping statements about Senegal and life in the Peace Corps. I think I sufficiently terrified/ empowered them this afternoon.

They are going to the village for the first time tomorrow which is exciting. I remember how petrified I was and how I didn't think I could ever survive. Tonight I put together some goody bags for the volunteers who are going to Tivuouane, my old training site. Just some necessities like Cliff bars and New Yorker magazines to get them through their first 5 days.

After the walk around, which included alcohol, ice cream, and me angrily screaming in Wolof (hey, I take my job seriously), Jackie, Katherine, and I escaped the questions and went on a romantic date to Massa Massa together. Salad, lasagna, and a couple bottles of wine later I'm back at home. I had hoped that I'd come home late enough to miss dinner, but this was not the case. Awa immediately accosted me and told me that they were waiting on dinner because Ziabata hadn't come home yet.

One of my family's new favorite games is to ask me to call someone and then tell me exactly what to say to the other person. What makes this game hilarious is the fact that I don't know what I'm saying. Today, Awa had me tell Ziabata that if he didn't come home right now to eat that I was going to sleep with his wife. Awa is Ziabata's wife. Khady almost fell out of her chair when she heard me say the phrase and my mom was literally crying with laughter since I had just told her that I was at the center all day teaching the new kids about Senegalese culture. When Ziabata came home he pretended to try and kill me with a spoon. Oh family love.


  1. I'm confused 2 days ago you blogged that you were so glad you stayed and havuing the experience of your life. I know you are giving the balanced view. They need it.
    They have no idea right now how important those goodie bags are do they?
    You are so lucky you drew such a fun host family!

  2. Alyssa,

    Are any of the newbies going to stay with your first family? Even though you attempted to scare them to death, I am sure they could tell that you are enjoying yourself and that they have to live through the beginning to succeed.