Saturday, January 29, 2011

slowly, slowly

After being invited to the Peace Corps in November, I decided that I would start a blog to share stories with family, friends and the internet. Currently I'm waiting for an email from PC Senegal that will tell me what my exact departure date is (they said March 7th subject to change in the invitation). This waiting is getting to me (but not as much as waiting for information from PC during the application process) so I'm going to start the blog now because I can't wait any longer!

I'm reading some very informative blogs from volunteers already in my country of Senegal, as well as volunteers in The Gambia which is geographically sandwiched inside Sengal's boarders. While preparing for the next two years I've heard over and over again that everything is much slower in the developing world. A woman in the Bahamas told me there are two speeds in Trinidad, slow and stop. During many chats I've heard the same thing said many different ways.

According to some of the volunteers blogs, people are fond of saying "slowly, slowly" in the different languages spoken in Gambia and Senegal. I've heard this saying before, in Greece, where they say siga, siga. According to the blogs, one people of Senegal say sena, sena (strangely similar). In another part of Senegal you may hear Ndanke, Ndanke, muy diap golo chi nai, which according to John on some new age blog means: Slowly, slowly the monkey is coaxed from the underbrush. In The Gambia you may hear doman, doman. In America, i think the appropriate translation may be our saying "little by little" or "slow and steady wins the race". Either that or there is no equivalent, we move so fast we don't find it necessary to even create a time saving idiom!

There are so many things that I could research to prepare for my life in Senegal. I can't lie and say I haven't been spending enormous amounts of time trying to absorb information so I can be prepared. Alternative energy, water purification techniques, composting methods, improved farming, not to mention African and Senegalese history and culture. I feel like I may be stuffing my head with too many things. I've yet to assess the situation and already I want to build a solar powered water pump! Is there truth in the saying Ndanke Ndanke? Maybe tomorrow I'll buy a puzzle and practice coaxing the monkey.

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