Friday, May 6, 2011

What costs what in Senegal

You may want to know how much money a Peace Corps Senegal volunteer makes. I know I would if I were you. I especially would if I wanted to become a volunteer.

The current exchange rate is around 500 CFA:1 USD. When I first arrived, they gave us a walk-around allowance of 28,000 CFA. every two weeks. This week is the last week I get that allowance and then I start getting paid the big bucks: lets say more than five times as much as I'm getting now. This allowance depends on the size of your village/city. My village has a population of 800, someone with a village of 2000 people would get paid more and someone with 200 would receive less. City folk receive a million dollars.

A bar of soap is 350 CFA, a frozen yogurt bar is 100 CFA, a hamburger stuffed with egg, french fries, onion and some other stuff is 1200-1500 depending on if you get cheese, a 22oz bottle of beer served cold at a cheap bar is 500 CFA, a puny mango bought from your mom or someone elses mom is 25 CFA, a big ripe mango is 50CFA, a bag of 8 big mangos bought on the main road if your driver deems it necessary to pull over is 500 CFA, a drinkable bottle of wine starts at 2500 (made in senegal) goes to my range of 3500 (imported from France) and ends at over 12000 CFA, a stick of deoderant as most hygiene products is very expensive and will cost you 2000-5000 CFA, a live chicken that you go to buy with your cousin only to find that you will be the one sawing it's head off with a steak knife is 2500 CFA, two for 5000, a big 10L bottle of water is 1000 CFA, a can of coke is 350 CFA, a 1L bottle of Africa Ananas delicous pineapple soda is 650 CFA, a small paper sachel of roasted peanuts unshelled or shelled will be 25 CFA, a frozen hibiscus and sugar ice slush in a small plastic sandwich bag tied off at the opening is 25 CFA, the bigger ones are 50 CFA, bite at the corner and consume, two frozen hibiscus and two frozen slush called boullie made from the fruit of the baobab tree can be plopped into a glass and mixed together to make a red and orange slush if your having a bad or hot day, a used article of clothing can be bargined down to 100 CFA and can cost as much as 2000 or more depending on what it is, for instance a T-shirt with the Slitherin house emblem on it will cost you 500 CFA and the shopkeep will be a fucking asshole about the price, but a sleep mask with a teddy bear the size of your thumb sewn on the side (which makes it uncomfortable when you try to sleep on that side, sorry i said that teddy i wuv u) is 100 CFA, a pair of silk pajamas with smiling stars and moons all over it costs 250 CFA and a lie that you will come back tomorrow to pay an extra 250 CFA (he and I both knew that wasnt going to happen, and he offered that solution not me).

I think you get the idea. The diet here consists of rice, fish, carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes, peanut sauce, hibiscus leaf sauce, moringa leaf sauce, chicken on rare occasions, some sort of meat every so often, rice pudding/porrige? its really good. I think thats it. I want taco bell, I want subway, I want wendy's, but what my body needs is more protein. My brain needs better alcohol. If anyone wants to send a small package, you can send it to

Costa Kokkinos
Corps de la Paix
BP 299
Thies, Senegal
West Africa

I only have until May 14th or maybe a little bit after that at this address, so if you want to send something send it asap!!

You yourself can deem whats necessary, but here's my current list of wants:

Protein powders to make like protein shakes, chocolate, strawberry or whatever flavor looks cool
fine liquor
loose tea
Chocolate that wont melt (like its in a candy shell), maybe a chocolate bunny in a candy shell? Or some sort of chocolate whatever that i can just squeeze out of its plastic, thats how almost every snack is sold and consumed here anyway.

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