Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sakou Balde is Installed!

Hello everyone! I haven't posted in a while, sorry. I'm sitting at the Hotel Sehelia down in Kounkane, Kolda, 14km away from my village of Niandouba. I was installed 5 days ago, and I love my village. My Pulaar (my language) skills have grown and I'm able to communicate very well. I'm also able to joke very well haha. I enjoy how everyone's sense of humor translates well into another language, i was initially afraid I wouldnt be able to be myself but I am still able to make funny faces and exclamations, the root of my humor I've found. Well, those and calling people names (getting the first punch in is well respected in Pulaar culture).

It was a bit jarring the first two days in village. I wasn't used to making my own schedule because for the past three months of training our daily schedule was made for us. I also don't really know anyone in my village so that's a little intimidating. But after visiting a current volunteer and observing him I've come to understand my role. for the first three months I should just greet people and get to know the village, and I'm doing that/ I'm more comfortable with doing that after visiting my friend.

Rainy season starts at the end of May, and it rained for the second time last night. I felt it coming, it got really muggy and stuffy and hot, so I slept inside my hut instead of outside where it's cooler, and I successfully avoided getting soaked in my sleep. I have to start my backyard garden before the rain comes or all my seedlings will drown, so yesterday I collected some of the soil amendments I'll need. With my host sister, I collected cow manure and Neem leaves (Hakko Newakim in Pulaar). Now I have to dig my bed, and fill the bed with soil, manure, neem leaves, charcoal and ash. Each item has its own purpose which i will not get into right now.

My village chief, Sakou Balde, whom is my namesake, dropped a project on me last night. He bought tree sacks -- little black plastic bags in which you plant tree seeds in heavily amended soil -- and today at 2pm we have having a village wide meeting about starting tree nurseries for everyone that wants new trees in village. Its 11:30 now, so I have to head back to my village on bike soon, but I wanted to post and say hi. So here we go! Love everyone!

I'll post pictures next time!


  1. Hi Costa,

    Good to hear from you. Not so good to hear about you sleeping outdoors. That's a good way to quickly get bitten by Malaria carrying mosquitos. I would be wrapping myself up like a mummy in a mosquito net.

    Isn't there some pretty interesting wildlife out there that might mistake you for food? Just wondering...

    Let me know if you liked the food items I sent your way.

    Love you and hurry home (without Malaria),

  2. Costa,

    Nice hearing from you once again.

    Boy, things must be very rough on you in your new home!!! I must say that in our most poor days back in Trinidad none of us ever had to sleep outside even with 10 people in a small two room house on Abercrombie Street. Touching Cow Shit NEVER came into question. The stench of it from very far away was all the more reason why we would never have come close to it. For that matter, we only saw that stuff in the countryside, in areas very far away from where we lived. And, the temperature was about the same as you are experiencing in Senegal.

    I rode my bicycle to get to high school, go to the Savannah to play Soccer and Cricket, visit friends, go to Crown Bakery to purchase Hops Bread for your mother to eat, etc. but never as far as 14KM to use electricity. At least we had that at home and 14KM is as far as Port of Spain to Toco. I am sure that you must be pining for the conveniences of the 21st century!!!

    Have fun and I will be shipping you some RELIEF AID very soon.


  3. I'm jealous that you're picking up the language so fast. people ask me to say something in Korean and i have a lot of trouble finding the words.

    i hear you on the deodorant. its $7-10 at the local mart in Korea for one Asian-sized stick. id rather wipe my underarms with the money itself, and it would probably smell better.

    i want to send you a little something. if you have time let me know what you need. otherwise i will just surprise you.

    is this your address for sure? it seems too short....

    PCV Constantinos Kokkinos
    B.P. 26
    Kolda, Senegal
    West Africa

    dont try to do too many things at once. youre only one man, and when you do things through twin magic i actually feel it and get tired. good luck out there.

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