Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Progress and Standstill

After spending all morning in my bed reading, I'm still exhausted from my stupid cold and at the same time highly unmotivated, I gathered all of my strength and my patience for a Junior Achievement meeting. I didn't have to gather all that much strength since Talla picked me up at my house in a Peace Corps car, but nonetheless I did have to make an effort to shower and I find one of the teachers we have to work with incredibly taxing. Talla never ceases to amaze me. For one he rolled down his window approximately 15 times on the 10 minute drive from my house to the Lycee Technique. I swear the man knows every single person in this country. Talla is also able to talk around every problem and make everyone feel like their idea/ position has won the day even if it has not. I know that part of what makes him so valuable to us SED PCVs is not something that would be called a skill: he's Senegalese and therefore he speaks French and Wolof and understands cultural nuances while I bumble about like a 1.5 year old child. But, Talla is also a great salesman and he really helped Kerry and I out today by smoothing our path to eventual JA classes and getting the Lycee Technique teachers on board with the program we want to put in place.

The plan is to hold JA classes for students and teachers at the same time so both groups are participating in JA's "Learning by Doing," philosophy. The hold up was that the teachers previously wanted their own training so they could critique the program, but we are hoping to do everything at once. The teachers and students leave the JA curriculum together and make suggestions so we can tailor JA to Senegalese students. Kerry and I are presenting the idea to interested teachers next week so we'll see what happens. Unfortunately, Talla wont be there to back us up, but I hope that everyone is on the same page now.

Post JA meeting, I met up with a bunch of other volunteers who were in Thies for various reasons. We all had lunch together at Pamanda's. It was fun to see people and eat salad and hummus. Everyone is getting incredibly excited about WAIST - the softball tournament that I wrote about last year - and we are all convinced that are costumes are going to be the best, which they are.

I left Pamanda's reluctantly because Erin and Emily were still there, but I was exhausted and needed a nap. All I want to do is rest and read and have alone time and it makes me feel incredibly guilty when I do that at home. Usually PCVs hit the year mark and the guilt of hanging out with the Senegalese family slowly fades as the volunteer hits his/ her stride and confidence grows, but I still feel badly when I'm home and don't hang out with the fam. Lately, and I know I've been sick, but I've been mentally willing myself to participate/ sit in silence with my family, but I can't do it. My body refuses to leave my room to sit in another room. My family has totally backed off and understands that I'm a weird American who can read in my room for hours by myself and actually have an enjoyable time, but I still have the guilt. Living with a family who is and is not yours at the same time is very difficult. The sense of responsibility and of not belonging pulls both ways. Hopefully once my body stops hating me my mind will quiet as well.


  1. Talla has an amazing gift..... and wardrobe!!!!
    He would be successful any where in the world. Observe grasshopper.

  2. Take care of yourself. Don't feel guilty about doing what your body needs you to do.

    Tonight on the Daily Show Jon Stewart was talking about Senegal. I tried to get a link to the show to send you but it's not up yet. I'll keep checking back for it. He was pretty spot-on (at least as far as I can tell.....)

  3. Alyssa,

    Hang in there. I hate to agree with Lynn but I she is right.