Back in Kolda

Updates from the Homefront:

  1. My aunt Oussey is starting her own little elevage animal husbandry business.  So, we have a new sheep in the compound.  Pictured below. 
IMG_20140828_115727
  1. My mom is going to Mecca!  Her son/my brother that lives in Spain is financing the trip.  It will be her first time on an airplane and leaving Senegal.  Needless to say it is the talk of the town!
  2. The rain has finally been (semi) consistent here.  We had one crazy storm a couple days ago where it rained for several hours straight.  Little by little.
  3. I have a bike now!  After 3 long months of being bikeless due to administrative controversy, Peace Corps finally gave us bikes.  My brother Djiby tells me I’m a nedo dowri, which means a village person, because I travel by bike now.  I’ll take it.
IMG_20140828_115456
  1. On a more sombre note, Senegal has its first confirmed case of Ebola as of today.  The individual is in quarantine and inshallah it will not spread…

So it goes.  I am back from Thies and it’s been great to be back in Kolda with my family.  I really missed them!  They were excited to see me too. 

The training I went to in Thies was focused primarily on potential work projects.  My service up until this point was to be focused on integration, language learning, and networking.  Now that I’ve undergone “Pre-Service Training 2” aka PST2, I am officially able to start work projects.  I’m in the “Community Economic Development” aka CED sector (Peace Corps really is horrible with the acronyms).  In the context of my site for my primary projects I’ll be working with people on income-generating-activities and managing their money.

I can’t help but feel a little trepidation when it comes to starting work.  Volunteers, from what I’ve observed struggle a lot with work here.  It’s hard to know what the volunteer’s role is in development.  They talk a lot about “capacity building” in the Peace Corps, and of imparting knowledge, but the reality here is there is a deeply rooted tradition of Westerners coming in and giving money or just doing things for people and then leaving.  It’s a difficult image to dispel.

God grant me

the serenity to accept

the things I cannot change

courage

to change the things I can

and wisdom always

to tell the difference”

I got this from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5.  I will try to keep it in mind in the coming year and a half or so.

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