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.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The West African Invitational Softball Tournament is an epic event to say the very least. Not only do I get to see my Peace Corps friends from other regions who I only get to see a couple of times a year, but I get to meet PCVs from other countries including Niger (ok, they were actually refugees who had to leave Niger and come to Senegal to be volunteers), Mali, The Gambia, and Cape Verde (where I just happen to be going on vacation in a couple of months!). WAIST features plethora of events, including softball - it's actual purpose.
The festivities kicked off Friday night after I arrived in Dakar from a catastrophe of a JA meeting (to be detailed at a later time). The night quickly got off to an amazing start because we unveiled our Thiest Region t-shirts. Now, what is the Thiest Region you may ask? Way back in 2009 when I first installed into my site, myself, Jackie, and Katherine received the nickname "Thiest Girls" because we are all short, brunette, live in the THIES region, and are fairly well endowed. It actually took us the better part of a year to discover our nickname, but after that we ran with it. Let me give a better explanation. I live in a city named Thies, which is pronounced "Chess," like the game. When you add a "T" to the end of it... I'll let you put that together. To make the situation more hilarious there are ZERO boys in the Thies sub-region. There are 7 girls from my stage and another 6 girls from the new Ag/ SED stage. Therefore, when I was in American I took the initiative to create grey shirts with pink lettering across the chest region. We also gave one to Oliver who is an honorary member of the Thiest gang and who coined the nickname. Disclaimer: If you don't find this as hilarious as I do, please do not tell me and spoil the fun. Other than unveiling our Thiest Region t-shirts Friday night we also attended a PCV talent show complete with photo contest and made the rounds of downtown Dakar.
Bright and early Saturday morning we were up and making a delicious breakfast while putting on our team outfits for the first time. Lederhosen ended up being a smash hit. The hats I brought back from America really set the entire ensembles off, if I do say so myself. Other key attributes of our lederhosen costumes were that they were absolutely unflattering on every single team member, plastic beer steins, and facial hair grown by the infamous Brian. The thing that really set us apart was that all of our costumes were uniform. Huge shout out to Katherine who had her tailor make the outfits for our entire team. While the Kaolack ballerinas and the Tambagou Cops and Robbers were hilarious and well done, no one had the uniformity that Dakar had and that really pulled us together and took the breath out of our competition when we took the field. Not that we needed to intimidate our opponents since we had no intention of winning since winning meant waking up early in the morning to play more softball.
Softball at WAIST takes two different forms: serious and ridiculous. Fortunately there are two brackets: serious and ridiculous or normal people and PCVs, however you want to look at it. The serious teams are Embassy workers, really, really, really good Senegalese teams, and Little Leaguers. The ridiculous teams are made up of Peace Corps teams who wear lederhosen, make people play leap from first to second base, and have people bat on piggyback, while reveling in being in Dakar, having fun, and getting a little rowdy. The Peace Corps teams also bring joy to the crowds with our fabulous costumes.
Saturday night after softball was another good night at the Marine house for Tamar and I who attended the SeneGAD (Senegal Gender and Development) date auction. The SeneGAD date auction, raises money for gender and development work by auctioning off male PCVs along with gift certificates to Dakar restaurants. This year's hot commodity was my lovely sitemate Emily since none of the Dakar boys would step up. She dressed up as a man and pulled it off spectacularly so we can all have a little bit more money for gender and development projects. Sunday softball was also fun, but we left the field after our games to nap because Sunday night is the all night party at the Oceanium club on the water. I was so excited and all ready to go and that's obviously when disaster struck...
On the cab ride to the club I started feeling car sick, but thought I was just car sick. Things started to take a serious turn for the not good once we arrived and I started shivering uncontrollably while my fever skyrocketed. I had to go home where I proceeded to get pretty sick. Within the next week I should know what's up, but other PCVs are diagnosing me with amoebas. I will go into way too much detail about how one acquires amoebas, how one discovers they have amoebas, and how one gets rid of amoebas if I do have them raging around my body. Just an FYI, that post will not be for the faint of heart. Anyway, I'm back at home alternating between the bathroom and shivering under five blankets when Katherine arrives back at home in the wee hours of the morning. I'm fairly delirious and cringing in pain, but when she asks me "did you kill that scorpion," I instantly regained my sanity/ ability to move - and quickly. The conversation:
Katherine: Hey, did you kill that scorpion on the stairs? Alyss: What scorpion? Katherine: The dead scorpion on the stairs. Alyssa: What? No. I just went to the bathroom 30 seconds ago (this was a trend that night) and didn't see a scorpion... it's alive!!! Katherine: No it's not; it doesn't have one of it's pincers.
We both approach the scorpion with plastic sandals bought for less than one dollar at a Senegalese boutique. Katherine throws a sandal at the scorpion and it scampers across the landing. Not dead.
Katherine/ Alyssa: Screems.
We then alternate smashing the crap out of the scorpion with the plastic sandals. I then use the two sandals to chop stick the dead/ mutilated scorpion and throw it into the toilet. After the scorpion is safely flushed away, Katherine convinces herself that she has been stung on her foot by the scorpion although she has no mark nor does she have massive pain in her foot. While she continues to google and worry, I fall back into my fitful amoeba coma...
Monday morning we all wake up worse for the wear and must sleep for most of the day before heading back to the American Club (the site of all of the softball games and a favorite PC Senegal hang out site) for one last pool party/ bbq. I'm still struggling with illness, but I totally rallied and stayed out the whole night although I was shivering and wrapped up in a long sleeve shirt, jeans and a scarf.
WAIST II was fantastic. Definitely better the second time around. Unfortunately, I had to leave Dakar this morning to head back for Thies and an artisan formation, which is much less exciting.
The latest pictures are up in the WAIST II album. Click on the picture of Jackie eating pie to see all of the pictures as it seems that this album refuses to scroll like the others.
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)