So I just got back from checking out the village I'll be living in for the next two years. I move in around May 14th, so for now I'm jumping back and forth from my training village of Samba Laobe and the training center at Thies.
The Volunteer Visit, or VV, couldn't have gone better. It's called the VV because your village visit is being facilitated by a current volunteer. They act as your tour guide and translator. My "demyster" Charlene was awesome, she is great at the language and she has done soooo much in her village including painting around 10 murals, working on a huge thriving community garden, and she has planned and is almost finished facilitating the creation of a 1 hectare garden. There's lots more that shes done but ill stop there.
So here is the story told in a few pictures. It starts with us trainees being blindfolded and walked around a map of Senegal painted on the basketball court in our training center. The last picture is two of my three roommates at the training center. Ben, the one in the sunglasses, is saying "I live on a mountain between two mountains!". He is going to Kedegou, the farthest region but the most mountainous and therefore the most beautiful some people say. You almost always have a waterfall in your backyard.
Here are some pictures of Charlene's village, the donkeys there, cute little baby sheep, and the mural we painted on someones hut (the villagers jump at a chance for us to paint a mural on their hut, sometimes because they enjoy the message and sometimes because they just want some art on their hut):
These are the pictures from... My village! Really they are just pictures of the lake 2 MINUTES AWAY FROM MY HUT! It's a pretty special thing, I don't know anyone else that has water this close, and its beautiful.
There are gardens lining the water, and the gardens are really well maintained and well designed relatively speaking. This is good because gardening is not one of my strong points. The water is actually a reservoir created by a dam on the nearest river. People own boats, and I asked one of my community counterparts, the guy standing on his boat, if i could borrow his boat sometime, he said sure thing! I can put my bike on the boat and take it down river to Emily, my closest neighbor and good friend. Ohhhhh boy! The last picture is of a baby donkey that was born the night before said the owner.
These last pictures are of the bike ride to Emily's site, a few pics from there...
I will post sooner or later, my little 3G internet usb key thing likes to act up.
love and miss you