Thursday, April 21, 2011

Visiting my future home

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):

If you touch poop and then eat, you get sick, but if you touch poop, wash your hands and then eat, your happy. The last frame is the senegalese way of saying im happy or its all good. Says Charlene, they don't do thumbs up.

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...

Her view from her backyard, scenic aint' it?^^^

 This was 2am at the PC Kolda regional house after our welcoming party which was awesome^^^^
 On the road reading a book borrowed from my regional house.
I'm ending with the puppies sleeping, even though they were in emily's village.

I will post sooner or later, my little 3G internet usb key thing likes to act up.

love and miss you


  1. Costa,

    Glad to hear that all is well with you over in the boondocks. Tell me, since you have no modern means of communicating from your "HUT", how will you communicate with Emily prior to visiting her? Suppose you head over to her "HUT" only to learn upon your arrival that she is away? Well here is some advice for you, something that we had to do back in our homeland in the old days, similar to your situation in 2011.(This was prior to Seongy's birth. She was fortunate to be born in more modern times). Ask the villagers for a "HOMER PIGEON" (a pigeon that flys away and finds its way back home). Attach a note to Emily to one of its feet using a rubber band and send the pigeon on its way to her "HUT". Upon receipt of your message she in turn will reply to you in a similar manner. By the way, that canoe looks awefully small to accommodate a bicycle. How did you enjoy the "OUTHOUSE" in your Village? Also who is this good friend Emily? Are you trying to pull the wool over our eyes? Remember, we are aware of your ways.


  2. Hi Costa,

    It's so good to hear from you. I am glad you are still happy in Senegal.

    Don't get too friendly with those cute animals because they might end up on your dinner plate one day.

    Who is Emily?

    Send pictures of your hut. I bet your mosquito net and bug spray will come in pretty handy because you are so close to the lake. Remember to stay away from the snakes, scorpions, centipedes and nasty spiders.

    Stay safe, be well, have fun then hurry home.

    Happy Easter,

  3. Hi Costa,

    Glad to hear that all is well with you.

    How are you enjoying using the "OUTHOUSE" in your village? Is it located near to the lake? I hope that it is since you would then be in close proximity to some water which you could use to cleanse yourself. Afterall, you are in the "BOONDOCKS" and I guess that Charmin will be scarce. Remember that newspaper and magazines can also come in handy once soaked.

    I am curious to know how you intend to communicate with Emily since presumably there are no modern communication links and at best such links are probably unreliable. Afterall, you would not appreciate showing up at her village only to learn that she is away. Here is some proven advice. Ask the village head for some "HOMER PIGEONS". (These are pigeons that fly long distances and return to their home base). Attach a note to Emily to one leg of the pigeon using a rubber band and send the pigeon off to her village. Upon receipt of your note, she can reply to you in a similar manner. An alternative method would be the use of "SMOKE SIGNALS" as the native American Indians did many years ago.

    By the way what exactly do you mean by "GOOD FRIEND"? How close is "GOOD"? Remember, we know who we are dealing with!!!

    Also, that canoe looks awefully small. Are you sure that it could accommodate a bicycle?

    Keep well and stay in touch.


  4. It looks like you are having fun. The country seems to be beautiful, I love the baby donkey, too cute. Hope you had a nice Easter.

    Mom, Dad and Sparky

  5. this is awesome, bro! thanks for sharing and have fun! love,

  6. HI Costa,
    Glad to hear that you are doing fine and enjoying your surroundings, I miss talking to you especially giving you tips on your cooking,
    Take good care of yourself and let me hear from
    you whenever you can.
    Love Always, Grandma