When mango season ends, the mangos are sour...

Trip Start Mar 11, 2007
Trip End May 2009

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Monday, December 29, 2008

hello everyone, its been five months since my last entry. And well I guess its because I've been really busy with visitors and also these final few months are so weird.  I lay awake tossing and turning and wondering did I do enough, what could I have done better, and I realize that two years is not enough and even when Peace Corps puts people in the same place for six years, the transition from one volunteer to the next is never smooth.  The most frustrating thing has been the work and I think every Peace Corps Volunteer will say that.  So many factors go into producing an actual project and I guess all my ducks didn't line up because I can't help but feel like I tried everything I could and still was anything acomplished?  I know I need to think small and I guess on the small scale I feel very accomplished and its a pity that my mind keeps wondering back to wanting the entire village to have successfully participated in a project or the school to have started art and theatre programs with me.  The village elders gave me some funding for the library but it wasn't enough to make anything special like I wanted to, but it might as well be so because now I'm having trouble getting anyone interested in doing a literacy program at the school...they just aren't excited about it...then I think about how I have only one month left...then I think about thank goodness I only have one month left and then I think about how I'm just not motivated anymore.  I don't like giving up but when endlessly trying  gets really tireing what else can you do?  My answer: save it for when I get home and am in my own culture, speaking my own language, where I really know people because we can say more than just "how are you, how's the family, how's the heat." I see the missionaries in the area and one family has speant nearly 8 years here and, they've seen thier fair share of failure, of course, but they've also put in the time and have seen results with thier awesome milk project and health education facility.  They've seen us PCV's flow in and out and complain about work and really its because we just don't have enough time here... Two years is not enough to do development work but its is enough to know if its the type of work you want to do.  So at least I know that its not the type of work for me at least not internationally.  I think becoming a teacher is the ultimate form of development work but I know enouhg now to stay in my own country.  And I'm not saying that I don't like Senegaliease culture by any means.  I love it and have had some wonderful times here and I think the hardest thing for me when I go home will be losing the ease of living I've achieved in this culture.  Wolof is a super fun language and people use thier entire bodies when they speak.  I can joke with everyone and whenever I dance everyone just laughs and I'm one of the family.  But I will never be Wolof and I think that's what makes work here so difficult, I sapose if I had a Wolof husband and lived here for the rest of my life, I could come close, but in reality I can't wait a lifetime in order to find a job.  I can't wait any longer for work to happen.  I hope I'm not disapointed in the States when I return home in February...I'm applying to be a Park Ranger and if I get it I don't think I'll have any problem finding work to do!  Alhumdililay!

So a quick update of my past few months.  October brought my mom to site for two glorious weeks!  She was such a thrill to have there and because she spoke French she was able to ask all the questions I'd always wanted to ask but had forgotten to.  After two years you get so accustom to things that you forget to ask why you're doing them.  We had so much fun fabric shoping and getting clothes made...at one point mom even wore pants on her head to a babtism.  They made a perfect head wrap!!  Then we met my father in Dakar and had a wonderful two weeks touring the coast of Senegal, relaxing on the beach to riding camels in sand dunes, mom and dad even salsa danced to sabaar drumming!  We slept in a Baobob tree and body surfed till the sun went down, all three of us just laughing in the waves!  I sent them home with lots of stuff, the taxi was so full that even if I wanted to ride with them to the airport it would have been impossible.
Then in November my best bud from college came, Siri.  She spent two weeks in village with me as well and we catalougued all the library books in the stinking heat as well as helped host a girl's leadership conference. Also she got to experience a day in the life of Desneige trying to work at the school...ask her about it sometime, she felt my frustration. It was great having someone to vent to and to talk to and reminisce about old times over a cup of coffee (she brough me organic, fair trade, deliciousness!)  Also because she is a newly liscenced massage thearapist, we did massages EVERY night! Also we played YATZI...pretty much everynight at least two games. Quite a treat.  Then she and I speant a fabulous few days in St. Louis in a cute little hut for super cheap.  We bought lots of wine and chocolate and splurged on two amazing dinners.  Then we did henna and played a final game of yantzi where Siri rolled TWO Yantzi's in ONE game!!!  I cried when all visitors left.
Then I spent a month working with two other volunteers planning this final seminar on Community Content Based Instruction, basically my primary job these past two years.  So we're working with my former school director on inviting 27 schools to participate and learn how to encorporate environmental education into lesson plans.  We also are inviting the Forest Service, the Hostpiol, and the Agriculture Service to attend because we want to start getting schools to invite these groups to do talks and projects and do something other than stay in class and lechture all day long.
Then the week of Christams brought me to Toubob Diallow to do a week long African Dance workshop.  I loved it!  Absolutley loved it and I met some wondeful people.  Also because I can speak Wolof I just got a long so well with everyone and really three hours a day of dance and one and half hours of drumming and then getting the most yummy food ever and getting a single room...The hotel gave me a special deal for being Peace Corps and I really appreciate thier hospitality, really really I am so grateful to them.  So I put in a special plug for Espace Sobo Bade in Toubob Diallow.  Good food, good prices and a beautiful setting...not to mention the nicest staff ever!
Christmas Eve was pretty spectacular, first a nice dinner dressed in my green booboo, then Chrismas Caroling with two other friends, then we had a final show and got to see our dance instructors and drummers put on this really great performance, then my little group did our bit and had such a blast.  So so fun! Christmas day brought me to Mbour just an hour south of Toubab Diallow to visit my Catholic friend and I got a free ride all the way there, it was a pretty sweet day!  We ate great food, listened to Christmas songs, and I even got to drink wine because they're Catholic!  He has a wonderful family and the cutest baby ever!  Again great hospitality and yes Taranga is real in Senegal but you have to know where to find it.

Now I am back in Nguith.  I'm counting down the days and know it will be hard to say goodbye but I truly am so excited and ready to be home.  I miss you all and I hope this holiday season was wonderful for you ALL!!

love with all my heart!  Desneige
for photos with my mom and dad:

Siri photos:
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