Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Unmentionables

Baby goat interrupting class....
Now I am not sure how I want to start this post off but I suppose I can just dive right in! I wanted to take a minute to talk about a few topics that one would normally avoid while blogging; personal hygiene. Now this is going to be interesting to say the least considering I have a fourteen year old leaning over my shoulder and reading everything that I am writing. I am assuming that he has no idea what I am writing, and if he does, well, he is in for a treat.
So there are certain tasks that a volunteer considers to be less important while in country than when they were in the United States, like shaving. Now I am sure there are those volunteers that keep up with this seemingly tedious task but that is definately not going to be the case for this chica!
Now I am sure you are asking yourself "why am I still reading this post", but when I decided to continue writing this blog while in Senegal I told myself that I would be honest!
This means that while you get to hear about all of the cool stuff that I do you also get to hear about all the not so cool stuff either! So here is goes, I cant remember the last time that I shaved. I am guessing it was the fourth of July since we were at the beach.  Not shaving regularly is something that, not to my surprise, something that I don't mind at all! Once less thing to worry about I say and if you can't beat em', join em'! So as of right now there will be none of this shaving nonsense, but I will be sure to keep you updated if things change so dont you fret. I also cant remember the last time that I was felt clean for more than a couple of hours or when I was not sweating during night while I slept. Also I seem to have a case of the nocturnal diarrhea. I am not really sure if this is a real thing, and I am sure my doctor of an Uncle, John, would say that it is completely false, but its true! I only have "episodes" before I go to bed, definitely during the night, and once I wake up. I am still working on the cause of this problem, diet I am assuming, with the medical staff but its a work in progress. I suppose these are things that are not that big of a deal but they are just things that I wanted to mention. 
On to better topics, as time is nearing the end of my CBT site things are becoming more real. It is going to be sad to say goodbye to my family here in Sangalkam. Even though there is still an obvious language barrier there are things that, as cliché as this is, dont need words in order to be understood. My family is truly great and have been nothing short of great towards me. I am also happy to report that during my stay here my Pular is actually improving! I had my second LPI (Language Proficiency Interview) today and it went MUCH better than the first time, well considering that I didn't cry halfway through it was an improvement in and of itself, but my language skills are actually getting better! And in my own defense, I only cried because I was frustrated that I was unable to physically communicate the words that I wanted to say, which Houssey was more than reassuring that my language was coming along just fine and that it just takes time. The LPI can has a way of making you feel incapable if you not proficient in the language (it is basically a test where the instructor asks a variety of questions that prompt conversation-like answers). I am able to greet people, ask and answer questions, talk about my work here in Sengal, and my life in the United States. This may sound minute but is a victory in my book. While I am on the topic of greetings, its very interesting how people greet each other here on a regular basis, its a long process to say the least. When you see someone on the street you usually say a short greeting consisting of "On Jaaraama", meaning Hello, with "Jam Tun" as the response, meaning Peace only, with a few other possible exchanges of phrases following. But with anyone that you have any communication with you would have a dialogue similar to the one below with the following statements (S) and responses (R):

S: On Jaaraama. Hello.
R: On Jaaraama. Hello.
S: Tanaa alaa ton? There is no evil there?
R: Jam Tun. Peace Only.
S: Golle den le? How is the work?
R: No Marsude. It goes.
S: A Nallii e jam? Did you spend the day in peace?
R: Jam Tun. Peace Only.
S: Beynguure nden le? How is the family?
R: Jam Tun. Peace Only.
S: Honno sukaabe maa wadi? How are the kids?
R: Hibe e jam. They are good.
S: Alxamdulilah. Praise be to god.
R: Alxamdulilah. Praise be to god.

This just shows how involved people are here with each other and how it is pretty much impossible to see someone on the street and not have a three minute conversation with them detailing how your family, work, and actions you have done that day are all in peace. Besides greetings, my family gets a kick out of my sentences because they make me sound like a three year old, like when I say I am going to the bathroom, or I am washing my cloths, but they understand which is key. Also, I think that my French is improving, which is so exciting! I cant wait for the day that I am able to understand what everyone is saying on tv!!
With host family!

This next week is going to busy! It will consist of the Counterpart Workshop, where each volunteer has both their supervisor and counterpart come to the training center for a two-day event on: general getting to know each other better exercises, American culture fair, information on how we will now fit into their community and work environment. Our week here in Thies will also consist of more of the usual medical sessions, aka immunization time (which the doctors know me by name now and are prepared with various questions to distract me as the stabbing takes place), safety and security sessions, language classes, and party (consisting of volunteers, Peace Corps Staff, and one member of each of our host families during CBT). Following this week of festivities we will have about three more days with our host family then we are off to the US Embassy in Dakar to swear in and then VELINGARA HERE I COME!! Time has flown by here and I can't wait to actually start my service and be a volunteer! 


Janice (your Peace Corps recruiter!) said...

Kelly! I just saw the post on the Peace Corps Facebook page that Hillary Clinton swore you in as a Volunteer! That's awesome! There are a couple of pictures of you out there too! Congratulations!


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