Peace Corps year 1

misc follow-up post

After spending a great night in Tamba (hamburgers and Trivial Pursuit!) with a smattering of other PCVs, I decided to explore another cybercafe, closer to the regional house. This one has the same low price of 350 cfa/hour, is closer, and what’s more important has a Windows interface, which means next time I come through Tamba I’ll attempt photo uploads. Don’t hold your collective breath, of course, but there seems to be a glimmer of hope that I’ll only be a month and a half or so tardy on gallery updates.

Random assortment of things that didn’t make it into yesterday’s (redonkulously long) post:

Our third ET (that I know of so far) was Bryan, who made the decision to leave before we swore in. He came to the ceremony in Dakar and then went home shortly afterwards, headed for his fiancee and a place where there’s air-conditioning and cutlery. We all wish him the best, and feel certain (all in good humor) that he’ll be much happier now that he doesn’t have to employ his “go in your room, shut the door, turn on the fan” cultural adaptation technique 😉

Yes, I had a very nice birthday, my last day before installation. Cory gave me a lovely purple benoir (big bucket) with horses on it, and then we all (Cory and Josh, primarily) cooked a big ol’ Thanksgiving / birthday / last night together dinner, which included chicken, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy, beans I think, and the most spectacular stuffing that has ever been made in any kitchen anywhere. And then we had two divine pumpkin pies (ok, squash, actually) made by master chef Josh. Everyone sang “happy birthday” to me and I blew out a match. It was great.

I held my first “official” village meeting last week. People showed up at my family’s compound after dinner and we discussed (or at least went back and forth, me trying to understand their Pular and them trying to understand what the hell I was trying to say in Pular) the village well project that the last volunteer worked with them on. It went well enough, though, to communicate the necessary information, make them assure me that the entire village was very happy, and even garner a small round of applause at the end.

Thanks to their hard work, the project is essentially ready to go as soon as the grant proposal is updated (not a problem)and the grant funds come through (definitely a potential problem, hinging on Congress approving the federal budget, from what I understand), so there’s a tiny tiny small chance that my village will have a second well by May (the start of the rainy season), which means they could start a rainy season garden and then a dry season garden by this time next year. Which would be fantastic, as they’re all very excited at the prospect of growing vegetables, which don’t make their way into the dinner bowl very often right now.

This morning was great—I went to the Tamba market with Cory, Josh, and Gretchen and bought fabric to have tailored. I got a fish pattern in bright green and blue, a bee/flower pattern on black, and a yellow chicken pattern on red. The chickens especially are great, but what was equally great was bargaining for the fabric, in a mix of French and Pular, and actually paying what I knew was the right price. I even made some jokes about having ten husbands who all cooked for me, which I’ve found is the best way to respond to the inevitable “Where’s your man?” questions.

Now back to the village, with renewed reserves of energy and purpose. Life is good.

6 replies on “misc follow-up post”

glad to see the “redonkulous” wagon made its way through west Africa 😉 i’ve been showing off your pics and video to friends across the country (US), so i’m much looking forward to any updates you can provide. word,

Hi Clare. I’ve been reading your blog all semester, fascinated by your adventures. I had no idea you’d be able to communicate so frequently; hooray for technology! I was talking to Graham the other night, telling him about your blog, and we were remembering your showcase essay for 325M… 🙂

I’m so glad you’re happy and adjusting, and I so appreciate the opportunity to have such a deep look into your experience as it unfolds. I’ve never learned this much from the PC website!

Things are well with me, just Ombudsing and plotting to finally graduate in May.

I look forward to more posts. Love, Amber

well, color me jealous. and you had 325M with graham? i don’t think i realized that. we worked together at the texan.

noelle – i’ve got a space on my hut floor reserved just for you (and/or you and dan)… come visit!

amber – so glad you’ve been reading… i think about 325m a lot when i’m trying to spit out good posts, or thinking about how i should really be spitting out good posts. send my love to all 325mers you run into.

matty – yeah, we had a fantastic class. how’s life?

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