Before the Thiest girls took the Dakar region by storm, it was a sad, sad region. Most other PCVs mock us because we have amenities and the region has never been very close because the Dakar regional house is used by all of the volunteers in country. Well, that has all changed now and it's honestly one of the things I'm most proud about in regards to my Peace Corps service. I love that we all get together in Thies for lunch, we have beach weekends together, work on joint projects, and all really get along and genuinely like each other. In hopes of continuing the tradition and the WAIST domination of the Dakar region, Katherine and I with help from a first year PCV named Sarah have been working on a Dakar region getaway day for the newbies for the past couple of weeks.
The events started this morning when everyone leaving from Thies was supposed to meet at the garage at 9:30am. Katherine, Stanzi (KO's replacement) and April arrived super early and everyone else arrived at very degrees of lateness. This was an omen of what was to come with transportation. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive and while eating an egg sandwich I bargained to rent out two sept-places for our trip to Mbour. Everything was all set. Well, we ended up waiting over an hour for the last person to arrive and once she did my deal was apparently not good anymore. Working with my new friend at the garage I switched my focus and bargained for a bus, which we all climbed into, waited for, and then were forced to climb out of because of politics in the garage. Over an hour after we were supposed to leave we finally, actually left and began an insanely slow trip to Mbour where everyone from the Petit Cote was already waiting for us at Warang.
I've written about Warang before and it never disappoints. Since all of their liquors are seasonal there's always new flavors which adds to the experience. The owners are super nice and put extra bottles in the freezer just like I'd asked! Needless to say we converted another generation of PCVs into Warang lovers. This was everyone's first chance to mingle and talk. The trainees were excited to tell each other about their demyst experiences, my stage was happy for another wonderful afternoon together, and everyone had the opportunity to meet the Ag and Health/EE PCVs that they might not have met before. It was a very inter stage and sector event, which made it even more fun. From Warang we all hitch hiked back into town to go to Kassoumaye, the amazing pizza restaurant that I went to with Matt.
Kassoumaye, undoubtedly, has the best pizza in the country and I've been talking it up for months. Unfortunately, I found out a while ago that their pizza oven is broken. I'm not sure how a brick pizza oven can be broken, but, alas, it is. The owners were incredibly gracious in working with us and had an amazing menu planned. Everyone had a salad, pasta, fruit salad for dessert and glass of wine. I thought that there were going to be plates of carbonara and plates of bolognaise and that, since we're Peace Corps Volunteers, everyone would eat off each other's plates and get a taste of each. The people at Kassoumaye are geniuses and put pasta in the middle of the plate with a scoop of each sauce on either side. Perfection. At lunch everyone had the opportunity to mingle some more and everyone stood up to introduce themselves and give their favorite fact about Senegal.
I think everyone had an amazing day. I know I did. Getting everyone together for a day is a lot of work and I spent a lot of time yelling at men working in garages, but it was totally worth it and a ton of fun. Today really offered me the retrospective/ full circle feeling that I've been missing out on. Seeing all of the trainees enthusiasm, reliving the excitement and newness of it all through them was great. I can't believe it's been two years and how far I've come. I can't wait to stalk the blogs of all the new PCVs to see what they do.
We're back in Thies now after another terribly long travel experience. I have to say goodbye to April before I leave the center for the night which is going to be terrible. It's my first real goodbye. Tomorrow starts my Thies goodbyes. I''m kind of numb to the fact that I'm leaving and in total disbelief that I'm going to be home in less than a week. For good. Now, I have to make sure that I not only leave, but that I leave properly and I'm really dreading saying goodbye.
There are a bunch of new pictures up in the "It's the End of the World As We Know It" album.
Messy, but Warm
7 months ago