Tuesday, March 22, 2011

JA on TV

Today was a day I've been dreading for approximately eight days. Last week Kerry called to let me know that the Junior Achievement office in Dakar was interested in doing a story on the classes that Jackie and I have been teaching (only because of our proximity to Dakar and not because we're any better than other PCVs and their sweet JA classes). By story I mean a videoed interview to air on national television. I don't necessarily enjoy getting recognized for my work, I'd rather fly under the radar, and the thought of other PCVs (mainly Katherine because I know she watches Senegalese national news with her family and she enjoys mocking me) and my family seeing the interview was something I would rather not thinking about. Therefore, for the past week Jackie and I have been praying that if we didn't say anything this idea would die a quiet death as so many projects have here in Senegal. No Such Luck.

Not only did all of the planning come together, but the Peace Corps car coming to pick me up was an hour early. I honestly thought I had died and gone to some strange pergatory. I wasn't ready for the car to come that early so, although I was dressed I was holding a naked Abdou and had boutique flip flops on. For the non PCVs reading this, boutique flip flops cost 500 CFA or about 1 USD, are plastic, and fall apart frequently. Mine happen to be white and therefore stained a lovely poop-ish color because of the dirt. Being frazzled about Peace Corps' early arrival, I didn't have enough mental capacity to complete two tasks so I gave Abdou to my mom, but neglected to put different shoes on so I looked like a bum... or a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Twenty minutes later Talla, Kerry, and I are in Pout to pick up Jackie and then we all headed to her school. Jackie just finished teaching two classes of almost 50 middle school students. Today was certificate presentation day and the national television station was there to film. I have a TON of cute pictures uploaded of Jackie and her students (Kerry has a bunch of pictures of me so I will upload those when I get them). Here's one to hold you over

Jackie with all of her students and their certificates.

Jackie looking around the camera crew to see her student being interviewed.

After presenting the certificates the TV crew interviewed the school principal, Jackie did a demo of a class, they interviewed some students and then Jackie herself! Exactly what we had been dreading. Fortunately for her, Jackie was released after her school's segment in Pout, but I soldiered on to the Lycee Technique in Thies.

Kerry and Mr. Badiane lead a short demonstration for the cameras and then several students and teachers gave interviews along with Talla and myself. For some reason (read: I had been psyching myself out all day), I was incredibly nervous for my interview and kind of flubbed it. I hope that editing will help. Unlike Jackie I didn't lead a teaching segment so the interviewers questions were very repetitive and I'm not sure that I did a good job diversifying my answers. I also had to redo the interview in Wolof, which I'm quite positive was a disaster even though I was told that yes, I can speak Wolof. The moral of the story is that at some point in the future Jackie and I will be on national television and Katherine and my Senegalese family are going to have a field day!

It was an incredibly long day filled with lots of introductions since people from the JA office in Dakar were with us for the day and the same questions over and over again. The students and the teachers were all really excited about the segment though so that's a good thing. Hopefully it will create more awareness about JA and more students will want to take the classes.

By the time we were done at the Lycee Technique it was well past lunch and Talla invited Kerry and I over to his house. Talla's wife made my absolute favorite lunch, which fortunately does not include rice, and there was a ton of salad which I promptly devoured since no one else wanted it and everyone else kept putting it in my section of the bowl. We had a really nice afternoon sitting under some trees in Talla's yard talking with his family and talking about Peace Corps. I especially enjoyed talking about Kerry's and Talla's hats:

Kerry and Talla... I need a hat.

I came back to my house where I got to babysit for about an hour before cleaning my room for a very special guest!


  1. Alyssa,

    If you get national exposure in Senegal, make sure you get a copy, Public Acess TV in Grand Rapids would run it for sure.


  2. Phew! What a great day! Hopefully your special guest is bringing you a hat that will substanitally outshine your colleagues!