Monday, June 6, 2011


Things having to with running have occupied my mind recently. After spending the weekend with Tamar on Mar Lodj and basking in the glory that is her shower, I've decided that I would most likely resort to physical violence to have running water. I'm at my wits end with the water situation. It used to be one of those grin and bear it scenarios, but now it just sends me over the edge. The electricity has been terrible lately which means there's absolutely no hope for water and Jeenaba was gone all weekend which meant that no one pulled water since our new maid doesn't work on the weekends, Mami and Khady are the antithesis of most Senegalese women, and Awa is approximately 74 months pregnant. Water on demand sounds like heaven. A dream. Utopia. I don't even care if it's hot. I just want it to come out of a spigot. I'm not even asking for a shower head.

I've also been running a lot in order to not look like I've spent the past two years living in Africa when I return to the motherland. Unfortunately, this gives me a lot of time to think about running out of time. Don't get me wrong, it feels like I have an eternity left here in Senegal even though I'm staring down the last six weeks of my service. Time is dragging. Everything is touching my last nerve. People are being so mean to me on the streets that I'm practically beside myself. Fortunately, my family is back in my good graces so they are the only thing that stands between me and insanity. Junior Achievement is over (more or less) and artisan stuff will be as soon as the Jazz Fest is over this weekend, but the social engagements (I know, I have a hard life), PST, and planning for life back at home takes a lot of time. Thinking about coming home isn't what I would call overwhelming, but it does take a lot of thought and I want to hit the ground running which takes a surprising amount of preparation. The time seems short in an intellectual sense, but like I've been banished to purgatory in every day life.

The return home has me reaching back out to friends for everything from job search questions to grad school inquiries to party planning. I forgot how freaking awesome friends in America are. In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between Senegalese and American culture is the acquisition and dispersal of knowledge. Knowledge is power after all, but knowledge is treated in totally different ways. Here in Senegal practically anyone would take you into their home and give you a meal and a bed, but ask them a question about future events or even facts about Senegal and they wont say a peep. Senegalese people keep their knowledge close to the vest. They don't want to share and help everyone else out in that regard. At home it's the opposite. I've been nervous about asking my friends for information, to read their essays, to ask for help because that's anathema here. I've been wording apologetic emails of solicitation only to receive page long emails with 3 attachments in return. Information spewing forth with ideas, recommendations, examples, and anything I could ever wish for. Seriously, America, you rock. As do all of my wonderful friends back at home. Thank you.

While thinking about all of these things/ how I would bore you by blogging about them, I ran around town. First I went to Les Delices to ensure I had power to Skype with my Aunt Diane's class for the last time. As usual they brought a smile to my face as did the plate of hummus I ordered! From there it was on to Mme. Ly's to confirm logistics about St. Louis and pick up necklaces to show at the gallery. She seems on board with the plan to only bring jewelry and only the pieces we've discussed. I have very little faith this will actually happen, but we'll see! I also ran to the post office.


Shirley - the letters keep rolling in and are as amazing and uplifting as ever. Thank you.

Ma - Thank you for the amazing package. The treats and magazines are much appreciated. I can't wait to go shopping for all of the things I see in magazines when I get back to the States. Chicago better prepare itself!

Mom and Dad - Thank you for another fantastic package. If Awa ever has her baby she will be thrilled with the outfit. Ahmed already loves his eye spy book. He doesn't quite have the concept down, but he likes it. And I love all of the salty snacks and life giving magazines!

I appreciate every letter and package that's been sent, but it's about time to stop all of the love coming to Senegal. Packages should be sent no later than the end of the week and letters shouldn't be sent after the third week of the month. I want to make sure that I get everything. THANK YOU!


  1. Hola: Sigo con mucho interés la labor que Uds. como miembros de los Cuerpos de Paz realizan en muchos países; soy educador y espero poder leer sus experiencias y comentarios.

    Hi, I have been visiting your blog. ¡Congratulations for your work! I invite you to visit my blog about literature, philosophy and films:

    Greetings from Santa Marta, Colombia

  2. Great post Alyssa! Fascinating insights into your fabulous friends and African gestation periods!