I normally hate having to be in Dakar. It’s hectic, aggressive, and expensive as all get-out. However, at this particular moment I’m in an air conditioned cafe, sitting next to a tank full of massive orange goldfish and surfing the internet over a wireless connection. I just finished a club sandwich and my photos are uploading at a blazing 26 kb/s, over twice the speed I get in Tamba. In a little while I’m going to order a pastry. Or perhaps some chocolate cake.
Dakar ain’t so bad today.
It wasn’t so bad yesterday, either—despite the fact that I was at the Peace Corps office for almost ten hours. Eleven of us traveled from our sites during prime work season for a special Volunteer Advisory Council meeting regarding relations between volunteers and the PC/Senegal Country Director and administration.
They’ve been bad for a lot of people. Really bad. Kinda abysmal, really.
Yesterday’s meeting came about through a complex series of events that don’t need to be detailed here; suffice it to say that the mood in parts of the Peace Corps community had degenerated to the point where paranoia and rumor had taken over. The meeting was an attempt to remedy the situation by giving the volunteers an opportunity to voice their concerns, the staff theirs, and then proposing ways to repair the lines of communication.
Everyone kept a calm, positive tone throughout, and we ended up with a long list of possible solutions to the various problems we identified. It was a very satisfying, reassuring example of progress being made—and effort and worry paying off.