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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.

2 Responses to “and then there are the good days”

Dear Clare,

I found your pictures of Parc National De Niokolo Koba as I was looking for information that might be helpful during our visit to Senegal in December. It was very helpful to actually see some of the park and Hotel de Simenti.

I also noticed you are in the Peace Corp….so is our son. He is in Dakar. Gone are the images of going to Africa and living in a mud hut! He is adjusting to life in the city.

As I looked more into your blog I just realized that several months ago I saved your “Care Package” post because it had so many good ideas of things to send…

Thanks for posting your pictures…
Anne Land
Houston, Texas

Glad positive things are starting to happen, and that the meeting gave you a chance to go to Dakar. Not so glad for the reasons why, but glad nonetheless. Enjoy the ice cream, and go to the N’ICE cream place.