Peace Corps year 1

Index, Month 1

Mornings spent picking cotton in the past week and a half: 3

Hours that massive brown clouds of locusts were visible in the skies over my village a few days ago: 2

Snakes I’ve seen: 2

Snakes that were subsequently beaten to death and then decapitated by villagers: 1

Toddlers who burst into tears when I so much as looked at them in my first week who I can now make laugh and take peanuts from my hand: 2

Average times per night last week that I got out of bed to take the puppy outside to pee: 2

Visits made to a neighboring village to greet people, drink lots of tea, and feel awkward: 2

Incidents of vomiting: 6

Incidents of said vomiting which occured yesterday: 5

Visits to the well-digging contractor in Tamba cancelled due to my village chief’s toothache: 2

Times I’ve wanted to run from my village to the nearest airport, screaming profanities at every kid who yells “Toubab! Toubab! L’argent! Donne-moi un cadeau!” along the way: 0

Times I’ve wanted to scream profanities at kids who shout “Toubab!”: too many to count

Times I’ve fantasized about hot cinnamon rolls, smoothies, cable television, and wandering the aisles of Whole Foods and then immediately felt guiltily and incorrigibly American for doing so: again, too many to count

Volunteers from my stage still in Senegal, out of the original thirty: 26

Shopping days until Christmas: 3

Miles away that I feel from the American Christmas experience: 1,000,000

Ah, the glamorous life of a Peace Corps Volunteer.

The locusts were surreal—millions upon millions, passing overhead in incredible swarms, brown-red monsters the size of hummingbirds coming down to denude entire trees.

The puppy’s name is Bandi Bah. “Bandi” is my village’s equivilant of Wolof’s “sai-sai,” which the dictionary translates as “thug” but also means joker, show-off, rascal, etc. This name amuses the villagers to no end.

Our fourth ET was Mike, who sent out a very well-written email about why he was leaving Peace Corps that I hope to eventually incorporate into a post on my own thoughts about Peace Corps itself and what the hell a bunch of liberal arts majors are doing teaching agriculture to Senegalese farmers. We’re all gonna miss you Mike, thanks for your time here 🙂

And, yes, I’m feeling much better today and am drinking lots of liquids. No, I don’t know what caused yesterday’s puking; it could have been any number of things. My family was kind enough to bring me to the Tamba regional house for the night, but I’ll be headed back this evening before coming back on Friday for a few days of simulated American Christmas.

I hope to have Tamba and village pictures up soon as my last-minute substitute for the Christmas letters I never wrote. Everybody eat lots of good holiday food on my behalf.

4 replies on “Index, Month 1”

Eating lots of good holiday food: Check.

Freezing in the snow and fantasizing about a country where 70 degrees = winter: Check.

Glad to hear you’re feeling better, honey. Keep at it. And I second that — post a picture of your puppy.

“Toubab” translates as “Whitey” or French’s “Patron” — essentially, from what I understand, the equivilant of “Hey rich privileged white person!”

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