1st entry

Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
Trip End Apr 28, 2011

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

  So my first 13 days in Senegal have been amazing.  We arrived in Dakar, the capital, at 500am which was about an hour and a half earlier than we were supposed to arrive.  Thus, upon our arrival at the airport the Peace Corps greeting crew was not there so as we exited the airport we were surrounded by a huge group of men who proceeded to take our bags outside and then ask for money.  No one knew what was going and no one spoke the language so it was quite entertaining.  Finally a PC bus arrived, packed us up, and drove us 2 hours west to the city of Thies where we have our training center.
   We lived at the training center for the first 5 days and during the first two we weren't allowed out of the training center.  It is sooo gorgeous but after we left the training center and ventured out of the compound it was crazy.  Soo much trash, little kids everywhere, and animals.  I will make the rest of this entry short and post pics later.  I now live with a family in a village for the next 2 months while training and they are amazing.  I have like 9 brothers and sisters, all younger than me, and they have been so welcoming to me.  I ate goat brain 2 days ago...not really good but apparently they liked it.  Everyone stares at me...like literally as we walk through the village everyone stares and all of the little kids run up to us and want to touch our hands.  A lot of the time when I walk home I have at least 3 little kids on either arm whom walk the whole way with me. 
  It is really hard at times.  A lot of people really don't understand why we are here or what we are doing.  The designated name for Americans is "Tubaab" and people will yell that as we walk down through the village or down the street, especially little kids.  They are always asking for money, or my watch, etc. and it's so hard to combat the conflicting feelings of obligation and a desire to be respected by the people of the village.  All the while I know that everything I'm doing is worth all of the hassle and pain.  My brother, whom is 16, is my favorite person.  He speaks French, Wolof (the national language I'm learning), and a little bit of English so I can communicate with him really well.  He wrote me a little paragraph (in Enlish) that made me almost cry it was soo nice.  I will post it later because I made him rewrite it in the back of my personal journal so anytime I feel discouraged about being here I can read it and remember how important it is for me to stick through it.
  Thank you so much for the support and I will write again when I have internet.  I am back to the village for the next two weeks so it won't be until another 2 weeks so I'm sure there will be a lot of funny stories.

Love Katy
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