Monday, October 20, 2014

Q & A's

So as I finish my 3 last weeks in Senegal me and my fellow stage mates are writing final reports, cleaning and purging our belongings, planning for next steps and handing off keys to our huts to replacements if we have them for our villages.

Below are some questions I'm sure people wonder about or have brought up in emails with me that I thought would be good to touch on.

I love seeing your pictures of your life there, but you don't talk about the stories from your village, why?
In this blog I have not spoken much directly about my village. I did this on purpose for many reasons. First of which is for my replacement if I have one. Reading someone's blog and trying to get a sense for a village (whether its my replacement or another one after-2nd & 3rd generation, typical villages have 4) is not really a good way to experience a place, people, work, and everything else that goes into it.

Second, it's so hard to get a sense of the place, people, circumstance in which all this happened in a written story. These are the stories I will tell you if you ask me in person. You will have lots of questions and I will show you pictures. But nothing is every as simple as it is in written form.

How about a photo of my dog instead??
I wish you took more pictures of yourself there with people you know..
I'm not here for vacation, I do live here. I don't need to have a photo moment everywhere and it also creates everyone around me asking for me to take there picture. Also most days here I'm dripping in sweat, am thin from simply trying to keep up with the people that live here and otherwise never really look great as I rarely have a large mirror to see myself in.

I have taken a lot of photos here, but I am very conscience of what I post on my blog as some of these 'kids' now will grow up and if they happen to know my American name, find this blog, see themselves in a photo I took and could be upset with me, or try come find me for a ticket to golden America. I rather avoid all that.

You always seem 'happy' or 'well' in your blog posts, you have bad days, right?
Also I've tried to write when I'm not in a high or low emotional place. As volunteers in a new place with a small about of language ability and just the nature of Senegal (it seems), makes most simple things seem like climbing a mountain. Every dang day. Until they become easier. Until the shop owner complements you on your wolof because he understands everything you asked him for and doesn't require miming or pointing.

Along with not writing about some of the not so great things that happen here because they don't just happen here (i.e. ebola) people draw an uneducated mind toward these things and blow them out of proportion when it is what happens when you are not in the happy bubble that is America. Again I hate writing when I am mad as it seems like everything is bad because when you are upset that is how you feel. I try to remember who might read my blog in the future and write to that.

You mention there are things you don't write about? Why?
 Sadly this is true. I hate this. I wrote a former blog post about this. Most of those things (i.e. cultural norms and taboos) are going to vary from place to place. The cultural frame in which sees these things will vary from person to person even if that person is from the culture. In many ways these are important topics but in others writing your frame of reference is only going to be interesting to people that have a similar background (as I would assume most of the readers of this blog are)

The 'other' things I don't talk about are similar to the things that we wouldn't in America pertaining to you job on this blog as this is about my work and life. So I can't bash my boss even when I think he isn't doing his job, or Peace Corps, even if I disagree with how they handle things. These are conversations to have in person, to be able to fully explain. If you truly love what you do to never complain about it, you my friend, have won the lottery. I'm moving closer to that, but until then, I feel complaining for complaining sake holds no weight. If you think talking about it will make a difference, by all means I will be the first to start screaming. (and I have when needed) But most of the time it doesn't. So save that strength to fight another day and move people by doing. Usually works faster anyways.

One of my favorite places to watch the sun set

Have you ever thought of writing your memoir? Or write more?
Yes! To both. I would love to write my memoir (I know, I might be a bit young) but it has passed my mind. I'm currently reading/researching doing so. And also am trying to write more and more about my experience here when I can or just the thoughts that I have about my experiences. I have always wondered if my writing DOES anything or CONNECTS to anyone, but the feed back (i.e. emails) I've gotten from people says they do. Long term plan is to eventually write about bees and the beekeepers I have met thus far and will meet when traveling.

Of course I will continue to write here and maybe while at home reorganize it a bit.

Always any thoughts, ideas or general feed back is ALWAYS welcome. Thank you for reading!!!

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