I survived the Fouta! For the last ten days I was living with a current volunteer named Caitlin seeing what her life is like and working on my Pulaar. If you want to get a good idea of what my life will be like up north you can check out her blog: http://caitlininsenegal.blogspot.com/ its a lot more in depth than my blog plus she has posted a lot of pictures. Speaking of pics, I uploaded a couple from the beach and training (http://flickr.com/photos/24553479@N08/) but I don't have my camera with me to upload the ones I took last week but I will try to upload them at some point.
Anyways, the north. Well it was hot thats for sure. It got up to 137 F (53 C) one day, that means that you do not do anything between the hours of 11 and 5. We would have class or do an activity in the morning and then spend the rest of the day sitting in a puddle of own sweat. But its really not as bad as it sounds. I stayed hydrated by drinking a good 8-10 litres of water a day and by the end of the week the heat did not bother me nearly as much. Its going to be an adjustment but its possible. While we there I met someone who had worked on development projects in my village, which got me excited about the work possibilities. We also visited a garden in her town and I got to see that stuff actual grew in the north and that is another area of work I could venture into. Caitlin is a health volunteer so she taught a class at the elementary school about germs and the importance of hand washing and we got to observe a class at the middle school to get a better idea of what the Senegalese school system is like. Other than that most of our time was spent in her family compound or visiting her fiends in town. Everyone was so welcoming and patient with us trying to speak Pulaar and accomplish the tasks we had to do during the week. Oh and I got my hair braided into corn rows. It looks pretty ridiculous but is so much easier to manage. Pictures may or may not surface at some point in the future.
Training is almost over, swear in is May 9th (that is if I pass my language test, so far no one in my class has reached the level but hopefully that will change during the next two weeks). The last bit of training is packed with a trip to Dakar and workshop with our counterparts who shall becoming to Thies from each of our sites to meet us and learn about the work that we will are supposed to do at site.
Lastly I have to mention plastic bags. Before I came to Senegal I was on campaign against plastic bags. I would bring my own bags when I went shopping and would pester everyone I knew to do the same. Well now I am in the country of plastic bags. Everything from water, oil, peanut butter to plastic bags themselves come in plastic bags. And since there is no waste management system here these bags just line the streets. I know that as a Peace Corps Volunteer it is out of my means to tackle this problem on the scale I would like, it is something that I will try to work on on some level. But the next time you go shopping just think of me drowning in a sea of plastic bags and bring a reusable one with you. Thanks!