Leaving Dakar this morning was bittersweet. Bitter because I had to get out of a real bed that was located in a house with a generator, hot (sometimes) water, a real kitchen, and a refrigerator that isn't filled with month old sheep meat from Tabaski. Sweet because it's the next step in the long list of baby steps I've created for myself until I board a plane to the United States of America. I will concede that the trip back to Thies was quite pleasant because I was in a Peace Corps car that not only offers air conditioning, but also a suspension system.
In order to stay in Dakar last night I had to call and rearrange a Junior Achievement I had for this morning, pushing it back an hour later because I was afraid that I would be late. Obviously I arrived with plenty of time to spare because of my swank Peace Corps ride so I sat at the Lycee Technique for an hour waiting for my meeting to start and chatting with some of the teachers. I learned that over half of the teachers at the Lycee Technique have yet to be paid so they were striking, which meant over half of the student population was milling about because they didn't have class. I was surprised that my meeting was still on because it's been cancelled at least twice due to strikes.
The meeting was shockingly painless and relatively quick. The infamous Talla Diop, my SED Peace Corps trainer, was at the Lycee a few weeks ago laying out an agreement between the school and Peace Corps. He also informed them that a Peace Corps Response Volunteer (a PCV who has served before and then is sent someplace to work a specific project matched with their skills) will be coming to Thies in January to help me write a JA curriculum for Peace Corps and teach the classes/ train other teachers. Honestly, he will probably be doing most of the teaching since he's an actual teacher. I am currently doing the leg work, getting the numbers, and meeting with the Lycee Technique staff to see what they're looking for. They want us to focus on business plans since so many students want to become entrepreneurs and since so many of them get turned down for financing because they have no plan. Can do. While we still have to work with the teacher who was absolutely no help to me last year, another teacher has jumped on who is trained in a Senegalese/ French Junior Achievement-esque program and who speaks good English. Major bonus points. Although I was dreading the meeting, it felt good to have that checked off my list and things, seemingly, moving along.
After the meeting I went to Bon Marche to get bread and cheese for lunch for Katherine and I, and then headed back to the center. In-Service Training for the new stage is still going on and we presented about our girls' camp this afternoon. I think it was fairly well received and I brought a bunch of cookies which definitely helped the situation.
Back at home I walked in as my family was sitting down to lunch. It was 4:30pm and they were eating a dish that contained month old sheep meat from Tabaski. Needless to say I went to my room and unpacked my bags before I greeted everyone so I wouldn't be force fed another and far less appetizing lunch. The rest of the afternoon I spent playing with Ahmed because he wouldn't leave me alone and being spat up on by Abdou because Jeenaba was the only girl in the house all afternoon and was obviously exhausted. Now I'm waiting for dinner and thinking about going to bed because it brings me one step closer to sleeping in America!
Messy, but Warm
8 months ago