Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poked and Prodded

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Let the COSing begin! My COS and DOS reports (the main pieces of paperwork I owe Peace Corps in order to leave the country) have been done for a couple of weeks now, but that is truly only the beginning. Leaving Peace Corps is almost as tedious and requires almost as much paperwork as the application process. Katherine and I must complete all of our COS (close of service) work this week so we can de-myst our replacements and then spend our final days with our Senegalese family and friends before party plane-ing it back to the motherland.

During our COS conference a few weeks ago we were given a giant packet of papers as well as a several page long checklist to help us keep track of and complete everything we have to do. The race started this morning. Immediately upon arriving at the office we check in with the medical office who tell us we have a few hours to wait so I run to turn in all of my bike equipement and have that signed off on. Instead of reveling in the air conditioning and wifi space that is the PCV lounge I ran off to the bank (twice since I had to come back because I forgot my passport!) and Katherine waited for Med.

Oh, the Senegalese banking system. Jackie was already waiting impatiently at the bank when I arrived. She had made the ridiculous mistake of pulling a number and waiting to be called when all she had to do was talk to someone at a desk who had to send an email to someone else in order to close our accounts. Obviously. Luckily for me, Jackie had the not waiting part all figured out and we had the man behind the desk email the accountant to finalize everything in our accounts so we could close them. Do not ask me why they man behind the desk, who had full access to all of our account information, was powerless to do anything except wait for this other person to email him. Two hours of waiting, people watching, exasperated eye rolls, and several bouts of annoyed questioning later the mystery man emailed the guy at the desk back and we started the process of closing our accounts.

Banks in the US like when people open savings accounts, not so in Senegal! It’s no wonder that people don’t have bank accounts. I know all about the frustrations of opening an account from when I helped Dioss open one so we could work on the exporting his cards to America. I had no idea that closing an account could be even more frustrating, confusing, and counterintuitive. By the time all of this was over I owed the bank almost 60USD. That’s because they did me the great honor of giving me the exact amount of money left in my account, fees for having kept a bank account open for two years, and having the temerity to actually close it which cost a whopping 40USD. Very, very, very annoying.

The poking and prodding had just begun because it was time for my medical appointment. The Med office is currently overrun with people who are sick and might be medically separated from the Peace Corps which is really unfortunate, but I appear to be healthy and my appointment didn’t take too long. An eye exam, physical, blood drawn… and other things you don’t want to hear about…

From Med it was more running around, more signatures, searching for Peace Corps staff members and trying to make the rest of the week as easy as possible for myself. That was until Katherine and I headed downtown to for lunch before going to see the dentist. As you can see from this post, trying to leave Senegal involves a lot of running around. I’m very happy to be doing all of this before the very end so my last few days of full of family and friends instead of Peace Corps bureaucracy.


  1. Alyssa,

    You are enjoying the process so much, maybe the military would be a nice next position. What would have happened if you just left the bank account open and withdraw as much as possible?


  2. Only thing left on the checklist.....Awa's baby must be born before you leave!