Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nous Sommes Ici

Well we did it, we are finally in Senegal!! The road to get here was a long one, but well worth it. We took a very roundabout way of getting here, NY- Belgium - Burkina Fasa - Senegal, and don't forget all the layovers in between (about 28 hours total). Once we got to Senegal we stayed a night in Dakar, since it was so late, and made the truck to Thies.

The first couple of days here at the training site were intense, in a good way. We took many sessions to educate us in topics such as safety, cultural training, language, diversity, and functions of the Peace Corps. All of these topics are of course ongoing and we are just now getting into our language training that we will be able to use once we get to our permanent sites in August. Speaking of language, today I learned that I will be on of the two volunteers in my stage that will be learning Pulaar and I will be concentrating on the dialect that is spoken in the southern part of Senegal. It was very interesting learning all of the different types of languages that we will be all learning, in addition to French, of course. If you were able to test out of French with at least an intermediate level then you are able to start taking your second language right away, otherwise you must take six weeks of French and then continue on to the second language. I was lucky enough to test out of French and start with Pulaar right away. I would normally want to work more on my French, because I hope to become fluent while I am here, but I need all the help I can get and if that means getting six more weeks of Pulaar in, then I will take it!

Tomorrow we are going into town again to do a bunch of banking which will be an adventure in and of itself I am sure! I feel like a five year old every time we go into town because we can't speak the language and we are hurdled down the streets careful not to get lost or offend anyone. It will be nice a few weeks from now when we will be able to speak at least enough to buy something!

We are off to our CBT (community based training) sites on Tuesday to live with host families during the remainder of our training. Here we will all get to practice the languages that we started today and dive into the culture. These families play an important role because they will be the first Senegalese people that we will have spent any amount of time with that help us integrate into their culture.

Well I am off for now, take care readers and we will chat soon!

Most of my stage after dinner in Jamaica, NY

Food was a great idea from our welcoming committee
of Volunteers at the airport
Hair cuts are ALWAYS a good idea!

Some of the Peace Corps-Senegal staff welcoming
us to the training site

Some Volunteers lounging in "The Foyer"



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