Saturday, March 16, 2013

4 Months at Site: An Update

Sorry I haven't written in a while, I have been busy. While saying busy is just plain weird, as things moves very slowly in Senegal, time keeps on flying by. It's strange to think I have been at my site for just over 4 months now. But I do have things to show for it.

First my wolof has greatly improved. I can now speak and be understood without someone repeating what I said to improve for clarity or pronunciation. WIN!!

Second, without trying I really am busy. Here is the short list of what I have done in the time I have been at site. We are also required to report on our work (i.e. how many farmers we talked with what, when, how big fields are, where they are, what crops are planted there, etc)

Installed at my site (made my hut my own, bought lots of things for my hut, got organized and hung out and stumbled through speaking the language)
Saw fields (peanut, millet, and rice) and gardens (onion, bitter tomato, tomato, cayenne, eggplant, cabbage, watermelon)  with my counter parts and work partners (there are many surrounding my village)
Met my 1st beekeeper in the next town
Mamadou Ndaiy, from Keur Mama Lamine, and a few of his bee hives
Finished my site form (paper work on how PeaceCorps to get to me if something was to happen)
Attended a men's group meeting
Attended the middle school in Nioro Alassane Tall to watch a french school class be taught
7em class in Nioro Alassane Tall
Met with the local hospital/dispensary and the local USAID ChildFund representative
Traveled to Keur Mama, Nioro Alassane Tall, Toubacouta, Paranem, Touba Mourid and Kaolack
Celebrated my birthday, Christmas and New Years with volunteers in Senegal (most of which was next to a beach with great food)
Me at the beach in Toubacouta with the Mangroves in the background

Attended work zone meeting and became Treasurer for the Toubacouta office
Helped with the looma booth in Sokone on teaching nutrition and vitamins in fruits and vegetables
Attended Language seminar for 4 days at a close volunteers site
Attended Bolo Field day at the Karang Master Farm
Bolo Field day at the Master Farm in Karang, Senegal
Had a site visit from my boss Massaly
Visited orchards and farm at Keur Babou Diouf
Some of the mango and the mandarin trees
 Had a chair with ottoman and table made
My chair and ottoman and my view in my hut from it
 Attended 1 funeral (sadly of the Chief of the Village that welcomed me at my install), 1 small wedding and 3-4 baptisms
My male counterpart and male french teacher cooked lunch for their families as my challenge to them
(as if I need to work like a man, my work partners need to work like women)
Amathe Signane on the left and Moustpha Drame on the right, cooking lunch
Saved seeds to send to another volunteer up north that has very little trees and lush things to save seeds from

Attended All-Volunteer Conference in Thies, WAIST (West Africa International Softball Tournament) in Dakar and IST (In-service Training) in Thies
Coached the Kaolack softball team to 2 wins in 2 games during WAIST
Explained my work to Dakar hosts (American expats) extending the 3rd goal of Peace Corps
Presented my site presentation at IST
Helped edit "From the Ground Up: Nutrition on Senegal's Master Farms", a small handbook to assist with trainings at Master Farms
Installed a beehive at the Master Farm in Karang and checked it twice since then
From Left to Right: Capture hive, view of the frames and top of installed hive
Contacted BeeCause in Gambia for further bee keeping training and work
Saved cotton, cassia, papaya seeds
Met 2 further work partners
Met beekeepers in Santamba

I hope to keep this list up with check ups and pictures in the next few months.  I am lucky to live in a beautiful place in Senegal with amazing volunteers near by and most of all good people that live here as well that are willing to help me learn, play and work.

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