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!