It keeps getting better and better Alhumdililhy

Trip Start Mar 11, 2007
Trip End May 2009

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Friday, August 17, 2007

So I know its been about a month since I last wrote so this is gonna be a long one so be warned and advised that a nice tall glass of iced tea and a lemon (wow I wish i had me some of that right now!) would be nice to have near by. Ok so at this moment Im located back in Thies for In-service training and so I'm with all my fellow PCV's again and its been really interesting to see how truly different each of our villages and therefore expereinces have been thus far. It makes for good story sharing. I kind of had had this image that seeing everyone again would be a great time for collaborating and it has been for the most part but the hours are long at the training center (12 hours) and during breaks you just want to be alone and doing your own thing. The long days make you miss your simpler life back in the village where you make your own hours and where your routine is, although nothing is really routine here, except those meanial tasks such as cooking your own breakfast, sweeping your hut/room and doing laundry on Friday mornings. But its nice because you hold on to those quite times during your day and its prime for mind relaxation because I'm not translating languages, thinking about the many ideas I want to do, or missing home, Im just sweeping the dust from the cement floor and destroying ant homes--these ants are amazing actually because they create these sand tunnels and towers but sometimes they bite and it stings!
So some pretty cool things have happened since my last post, my prepareing to leave the village for IST went really smooth because I got a lot of stuff done before leaving and I felt I reached a new level with my family. I found some really cool containers to plant my house plants in and my youngest family members and mother helped me to do it so Ive now got an aloe plant in an old teapot, a cactus in an hold clay water holder (or cannery as its called, kept in the shade of a tree and used here to keep drinking water cool) and "grandmothers toungue" in an old wooden mourter that my mothers used to pound millet in. Then the day before leaving my best friend in the village and I, organized a meeting of the teenagers and I discussed with them the idea of wanting to conduct a survey in the village with their help. Because Im the last volunteer thats going to be there I want to know what final projects can be done and to assess what's already been done. The group then had a lot to say and add and really got excited. I don't think anyone's ever asked them what they think needs to be changed and so, I think ive found my key group. Im so excited to work with them!
So then the last night with the family it rained again finally and becuase we couldnt watch the TV outside and it was to hot to watch it inside, we all just sat under the awning and hung out listening to the rain and bullfrogs and chatting. I loved it. Also a few nights prior to my departure I threw a little going away party and me and my brothers and sisters and a few of thier friends came over and we had cravettes and onion sauce and fruit drink in wine glasses, and danced on the roof to awsome Senegaliese music under the full moon. Then... I went on a kayaking trip!
I met up with two other volunteers in the Kaolack region and we got on a piroge (long Senegalies fishing boat usually pushed around with one long stick like a gondola) with a motor and took a two hour boat trip to the mangroves and the deserted island we would be staying on. We ate cake packaged in plastic and celebrated Steven's birthday. The cake was surprisingly good and as we neared the island things got even better. One sole Rasta man lived there. It couldn't get more cliche then that but then we set up our tent on the beach and made ready our kayak exploration through the mangroves. The sunset was out of this world with four different views happening at once because at one end there was the sunset on the other the lightning storm in the distance and between them the skies were mixed hues, it kind of looked like the four seasons...and Vivaldi should have been playing while me and Jamie swam/floated in the salty waters of the mangroves while our two other mates personed the kayaks. The water was warm and becuase of the salt we were super boyant and there was a little current that took us slowly back to our island. The wells around here are all ruined because of salt water intrusion and the few people who do live on the islands have to go a long way to get water....Then we got back and had the most amazing freshly caught fried fish dinner with onion sauce, french fries, and canned string beans. We ate it all with our right actually taste better that way to me now because you have to ball it up and pop it in and then lick your fingers I mean it gives a whole new meaning to finger licking good. Basically its just fun. I cant wait to cook for you all back home!
So then the following day we went Kayaking to Isle des Oiseaux and saw flamingos, traversed small mangrove lagoons and saw a ton of crabs, also Mangroves coolest tree, they actually thrive on the salt water and use the salt on thier leaves to make them unapatizing and they stay green all year round. They grow shell fish on their roots and make good firewood. There are lots of reforestation projects going on...oh and there is such a thing called mangrove honey....i dont know how it tastes.....yet, my next adventure perhaps.
The day before leaving for Thies we stayed in a friends village, planted somes trees, climbed some trees, and saw a really rad camellion. They are the coolest lizards and just the eyes and feet and tail are so neat and I tried to get it to change purple for me but it was scared. They move really slow which makes be think they might actually be kind of dangerous, and I think the villagers were saying could validate that. I shall do some more research on that creature I might get a tatoo of it when I come home...nah just kidding, would be pretty cool though.
Now while all of this was going on, the me prepareing to leave for IST/Kayak trip stuff, I developed this really nasty skin infection on the back of my neck. Well first I had these really weird boil like bites on my legs which went away with a hot compress but then the neck thing came and felt like my hair was being pulled out there and because I couldnt see it I didnt know how bad it was until my fellow volunteer said " thats disgusting" and usually he's so soft spoken too but even he was grossed out. I made him take pictures of it and yeaup....super disgusting...pimply pus filled sacs and burning redness, but now.....its gotten better....the doctors here dont know what it is think its an allregic reaction...actually i think I had two different skin infections the first fungal (the pimply pus filled one) and the one I have now in the same spot which is itchy and not burning like the other one. Actually when all us volunteers came together we were a sorry infections galore. We just laugh and share diareah/amebia stories.
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