Sunday, June 12, 2011

Think -> Do -> Watch -> Do

I had two meetings since last we spoke. The first was a "causerie" on how to make Neem Lotion. Causerie is the made up French word we use for "how-to" or "show and tell" meetings. I invited everyone I could and people came, watched me make it, and now people want to make it themselves, with my help. The only problem is that no one has actually bought the 200CFA worth of soap and oil to make it yet. But si Allah jabbi (if god agrees) they will buy it and want to make it.

I don't know what to think about Neem Lotion, honestly. You apply it to your skin when the sun goes down, and mosquitoes don't bite you all night. But I don't use it, and they seem like they don't want to shell out the 40 cents to make a bucket full of it.

The second meeting I had was yesterday. I wanted to have another causerie on how to make a tree nursery. It took me a few minutes to show people how to mix cow poop and sand, and put it in a tree sack. Afterwords, I asked those who showed up -- mainly women -- "What would you like to do with the old health hut?" Niandouba, my village, has an old health building and a new one. The old one is not being used, and its just collecting pests and dust. After much deliberation most of which I couldn't understand, the women of the village have agreed to donate 500CFA, aka 1 dollar, aka 30 mangoes (a lot of money!), to turn the old health hut into a Hut for the Nutrition of the Children of Niandouba.

I hope that name sounds better in Pulaar, I kept saying I don't like the names we were making up so they finally rested on that because I got tired of expressing myself in a different language. I said "That name is long and not easy." And my counterpart answered "Yes, it's a strong name". We stared at each other for a few seconds and I gave up.

So I told them that I would help clean up the hut; sweep it with the help of the people of the village, and paint it with the help of the people of the village. And then, with the help of the people of the village, I would paint murals and decorate the place. My idea is to make it into a museum-like space, the walls glittered with murals, photos, paintings, etc. teaching people about nutrition, stories and pictures of people successful Senegalese people, environmental education, gender equality, health issues, etc.

My work is moving. I plan, I do, then I watch as other ideas are created and presented to me, then we all do it! I'm happy, but now more than ever I don't want to leave my village for someone's birthday or for some event, and now is when people are starting to invite me to different cities for birthday parties, and the Fourth of July is a big big deal for PC Senegal. I'll just have to make sure the ball continues to roll, even if I leave for a few days to see my friends.

Love you all, see you in my dreams!

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