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Remember how a year and a half ago I wrote about resubmitting the previous volunteer’s proposal to get Peace Corps funding for a second well in the village? And how it was months before my schedule and the village’s schedule and the Ministrie de Hydraulique’s schedule—and, by that point, the weather’s schedule—aligned to produce three guys and a shovel?

Well, after six months of (every few days, for a few hours each day) digging through rock and sand to a depth of somewhere around 35 meters, water has arrived.

Pouring water at the new well

Water! The village gathered to pull some out so that the workers could continue doing whatever it is they’re doing down there at this point… it was a slow process of the workers showing up to sit around, then the village guys playing games, then everyone attempting to catch donkeys, then pulling water as the women gathered, then sending the chief down to inspect whatever there is to inspect at the bottom of a newly-dug well.

While I was watching the women standing in line with their buckets, I realized that this was one of those “Peace Corps moments” that lots of PCVs never get—seeing your effort (and PC money) have an actual impact. It’s something that I know my village appreciates and that I appreciate both for the instrinsic warm-fuzzies and the possibilities for future projects that it creates. We’ve started a tree nursery and supposedly work has also begun on a fence for a village garden.

Madame washing Mahamadou

However, while there’s the prospect of lots of productive work for my last six months of service, I also anticipate many more hours of the village’s current obsession: Uno. Every day after lunch, during that stupidly hot part of the day when nobody leaves the shade, a group of women, men, and kids has been joining in multi-hour sessions of Uno. The previous volunteer at my site introduced them to the game, and since there’s not much work going on at this time of year, they’ve been asking me to bring out the cards.

Uno game

Games are hilarious—some people get the rules right away, some don’t, and those who do will reach over and play for those who don’t. There’s a lot of fussing and a lot of laughing, especially since I explained the rule about how if you don’t call out “I have one!” (Mi hebii gooto!), someone else can catch you and force you to draw more cards. It’s good to know you’re making a difference, right?

6 Responses to “well done… almost”

My favorite so far in the new photo gallery is the video of the men playing the game in their dirt ‘board’ with rocks and sticks.

Congrats on your special moment! ^_^ I am currently working out of New Orleans LA on a special Gulf Liason Team bridging communication gaps between Corps members and Administration. Our Joint Field Office is in Baton Rouge and I was looking through your profile and was like, “Hey, that’s where she was born” =P I’m also in the PC application process although Its going a bit slow at the moment because I keep moving around and they keep having to transfer.. all I need is to do my interview and give them my docs and I should be solid. Best wishes.

Yay for the new well! Yay for UNO! Yay for the last six months!

Hey! I’m glad you had one of those “Peace Corps experiences” I hope I have at least one as well. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I just wanted to let you know that in 2 months I’ll be your neighbor. I’ll be a PCT in Mali. Best of luck!

Stumbled onto your blog and gallery, and was heartened by the pictures you’ve taken and the work you’re doing. I aspire to join the Peace Corps– can’t wait to put in an application.

Thanks for the comments. Congratulations, Juliana! I hear great things about Mali. Jason and James – good luck with the applications 🙂