With a very short five days of "rest" at home in Thies/ the training center, I was off again and back to Dakar on Tuesday for a Junior Achievement event. But, this wasn't before I had the chance to go see Mme. Ly on Monday afternoon.
I had been dreading going to see Mme. Ly because of the disaster that was Jazz Fest. She and Khady had the most miserable expressions on their faces every time I saw them and I was afraid that all of my hard work with them would be for naught after the giant disappointment of the expo. Fortunately, Mme. Ly doesn't hate me. Just like Katherine's artisan Matar told her, Mme. Ly told me that the event was so horrible that the artisans bonded and that they did really learn a lot from the gallery and how we had set up the Peace Corps display there. Apprently, the boys stayed an extra couple of days in St. Louis and sold some more product which is good. Mme. Ly and Khady left after the final official day of the expo with some very, very, very exciting news. After I had already left St. Louis, Joelle, the gallery owner, came over to the Peace Corps booth to check things out and speak with the artisans. She was impressed with a couple of the products including the Collaboration Bag (made by Matar the tailor and Demba the leather guy) and a lot of Mme. Ly's new jewlery designs.
Mme. Ly and Khady are over the moon that Joelle liked their jewelry and the three women are working on finalizing and order for the gallery and creating a partnership! Exciting!!! Over the past year I've been creating a Look Book for Mme. Ly with all of her designs. Every time she has a new necklace I take a picture and put it in the photo album I bought her. She now has a record of well over 50 designs that she's made. The next time Mme. Ly goes to Dakar she's going to take her Look Book and show it to Joelle so she can choose more designs. Hopefully this will turn out to be an enduring partnership! And it means that at least two good things came out of Jazz Fest: the artisans have really bonded and become friends and Mme. Ly has a new opportunity with a gallery!
Unfortunately, Monday night did not end as well as the afternoon went. My internet is suddenly suffering from the mysterious disease that Katherine's internet had a few months ago. From home, when connected to the internet through my modem and an ethernet cord, I can only access Gmail, NYT.com, and Skype. While these sites do represent the holy grail of internet, but it's really annoying when you can't access the rest of the internet, especially after I had paid my bill earlier that day. Yes, I know, the trials and tribulations of the Peace Corps Volunteer. No internet. Poor me. But, it's all what you get used to and I have work to do! Although I have been obsessively calling Orange (my service provider), re-configuring my modem, and turning everything off and on, there has been no improvement. Blame the terrible utilities companies for the lack of blogging.
Tuesday morning, after yelling at several Orange representatives over the phone, Talla came to pick me up and we headed to Dakar. Since Talla was driving and I didn't have to take a sept-place I took a ton of Peace Corps property into Dakar to turn in... I'm getting closer and closer to coming home! We picked up Jackie and with Kerry already in the car we sped to Dakar... until we got stopped in standstill traffic for over an hour. The real purpose of the trip was Junior Achievement and the end of the year festivities and events planned by the JA country team.
Tuesday night we attended a lovely reception at the American Ambassador's house and Wednesday morning we went to the national theater along with a bunch of JA students (including some from Lycee Technique!) to celebrate their accomplishments and listen to some Senegalese musicians perform. We also got to watch a television segment about JA in which Jackie and I starred or in which Jackie starred and I had one ridiculous line. The best part was we were both wearing the same outfits we had on in the video! Just goes to show you how poorly PCVs dress.
Now I'm back in Thies waiting out the power outages and politicking. Definitely check out Senegal is the news for yesterday and today. I'm an fine and safe, but there are protests happening throughout the country. Yahoo news, Reuters, and AP all have articles if you are interested to know what's happening in Senegal.
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago