I wanted to give all of you followers who I haven’t had a chance to talk to in detail a small behind-the-curtain peek at In Country Orientaion. So, I will sit here and type out a rough daily schedule and sweat. Because it hasn’t rained in two days and Dakars musk has been accumulating warmly.
Since my fellow Senegal Fellows and I arrived, after our swift homestay placements, we have been spending most days at school studying French and our local languages–Pulaar or Wolof. Personally I am studying Pulaar, but we’ll come around to that later.
When I’m not at school cramming my brain with grammar rules, helpful phrases, cultrual tips, and friendship, you’ll often find me scattered around my neighborhood: slurping juicy, fresh mangoes, playing in turbulent West African ocean swells at the near-by beach, walking to my next destination, or perhaps enjoying a rare and indulgent bowl of ice-cream. But thats just a day in the life.
I’ve also had a few more atypical and exciting experiences. For example, yesterday we took a group field trip to a historically dense and often fought over little island called Gorée. If, during the slave trade, a country controlled this island, they controlled the entire West African slave trade. If you have the time, do some research. The stories of this small, isolated piece of land are rich, relevant, and complex lessons in humanity that should not be overlooked. Some of the horrors that Gorée witnessed reached through the centuries with such strength that I shed tears at the door of fate through which people used walk–to death or as cargo. It was a truly sobering tour.
More lightheartedly, there have been durm circles and crazy sunsets. Lots of laughs and a few bruises here and there. But lots of learning and lots of living.
Back to Pulaar: tomorrow(as of creation, Saturday, September 14) I will be visiting a village called Segou in the region of Kedougou, a 12 hour bus ride southeast of Dakar. It is there that I will be spending the majority of my time here in Senegal and engaging in an agriculturally based community. But those stories will come later. This visit is a taste test of my future, like dipping your toes in the pool to check the water temperature. I will speaking Pulaar at home there.
Thanks for reading a short and last minute blog. Until next time, wherein I dig a little deeper into my experience of the new world around me and have stories to share from a village,