Yup, I'm actually doing it. I'm taking the plunge. Starting August 12th I will be in Senegal working as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Monday, January 31, 2011
For some reason I cannot blog during the day and since we haven't had power at night, I haven't been blogging. Due to exhaustion and hunger I'm writing early today so I can get a post up!
The mini Artisan Expo is finally starting to come together. Last Friday when people came in for lunch I got a lot of products, some products have safely arrived in Dakar, and tomorrow I'm picking up some new stuff from Dioss including Valentine's Day cards. Today I went to Joal (a city along the coast, where two other PCVs live) and met Tamar so she could hand off the dyed fabric that her women's group makes. The adventure began bright and earlier this morning when I met Kerry at the garage. We were the fifth and sixth people in the sept-place so we were soon on our way to Joal. While I had spoken with Tamar extensively about the plan and had even invited the other PCVs to lunch, I had totally forgotten one important thing about Joal: I know nothing about Joal.
Once Kerry and I arrived at the garage in Joal I realized that I didn't know where we were going or what we should do until lunch. At this point it was just a little before 10am. I decided to wait for Tamar to arrive since she had been to Joal before, but when I got a hold of Brian he told me that Tamar and I would arrive at different garages so I decided to jump into a clando (shared taxi) and head to Fadiouth, which is the island connected to Joal via a giant pedestrian bridge. Kerry and I walked around the artisan stalls and little restaurants near the bridge until Tamar arrived and then we all walked across the bridge to Fadiouth.
Joal itself is a very long town. There's one main road that the runs the length of the town and everything is built around the road. It's actually pretty cute and much more quaint than I expected it to be. For some reason Fadiouth is super touristy. There were cars filled with tourists and guides getting out and walking across the bridge and then around the island. The three of us decided to go without a guide and just walked around. The view from the bridge is quite beautiful and the cemetery that's on an island adjacent to Fadiouth, which is connected by another bridge, was really cool. The giant baobab trees next to the white, white tombstones made for some pretty pictures.
On our way back Tamar and Kerry noticed a man weaving traditional Serere cloth. Serere people is another ethnic group in Senegal who are mainly concentrated in the delta region. Tamar's village is predominately Serere. Tamar sweet talked the man and his wife while holding their infant daughter and Tamar and Kerry bought some beautiful cloth while I took pictures and played with little kids, which was funny since they didn't speak Wolof and I don't speak Serere.
With purchases in hand we headed back across the bridge where we found Brian who took us to a restaurant for lunch where Steve joined us. We spent a very pleasant lunch time eating garlicy shrimp and grilled fish before heading our separate ways. Kerry and I returned to Thies where I had to run over to Madame Ly's stall to talk about the artisan expo and answer some of her questions.
I posted pictures of today's trip as well as pictures of my family that Ahmed took yesterday. If you are interested in learning more about Joal-Fadiouth here is the wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joal-Fadiouth
PCV Alyssa Titche Corps de la Paix B.P. 957 Thiès, Senegal West Africa
* Make sure it's "Par Avion" by Air and that there's a sticker * Please put insurance on packages and even letters because customs officers will rip open both looking for goods and cash * If you are amazing and sending me a package write "Religious Materials" or "Personal Products" on the outside to further deter customs officials, also it is best to buy a flat rate box to reduce the custom fees I have to pay on my end! * Number your letters so I know if I'm missing one as mail will probably take 2-3 weeks to get from you to me
I also have Skype so make me one of your contacts. My Skype name is: alyssatitche
Cell Phone! Call me on Skype! 221-77-330-48-40
Wish List: Goodies, Treats... and Necessities
100 Calorie Packs
Jiff Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
Mixed CDs (Leigh and Alex sent one and it was AMAZING)