So here is the basic information of my time here in Senegal. This is by no means in depth or anything, but more of just a quick glimpse of the things that make up the basis of my daily life. I promise to go into greater detail on a few of these things in future blog posts.
- I live in the big village/tiny town of Mako. Mako has a population of roughly 2000 people. The ethnic majority in Mako is Pular, but there is a large Manlinke presence in the surrounding villages. The nearest major city is Tambacounda, which is roughly 149 km away, and the nearest major town is Kedougou, which is roughly 41 km away.
- I live with the family of Hawa Tin Diallo (myofficial host mom). I have 3 host brothers, one baby host sister, two host moms, and a set of extended family that lies in the relm of ambiguity. I love everyone in my family and they have given me the name Abdou Khadry Ba. Everyone seems to enjoy having me in the house, minus my baby sister Adama; she doesn’t like me for some reason, but I love her to death.
- Pular is the language I speak at home and around my village. I suck at speaking it, quite frankly.
- I work at a health post in the neighboring village of Badian. The health post is located on an eco-touristic “campement” started by an organization from Spain. The campement is located on a large piece of land near the Gambia River and features a hotel for tourists and a health post aimed at helping people who may not be able to afford to make the trip to Tambacounda or Kedougou to visit a hospital. The whole campement is completely run by Senegalese people from the area, and profits from the hotel go towards community projects such as building schools, wells, and other things. I work with a woman named Anna Diop- Gaye she is the only nurse at the health post and has been working in health for the past 26 years. She is fluent in Spanish so whenever I go to work I basically only speak Spanish unless I’m talking directly to a patient. Working at the health post has absolutely changed my life. It was after meeting and working with Anna that I decided that I want to pursue a career in global health and go to medical school. So that’s pretty cool.