Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Massive Update

It has been a long long time since I wrote to you all and a lot has happened. Wanted to fill you in on everything on this side of the atlantic so you could get an idea of all I have been up to.
For those who don’t know International Womens Day is March 8th. PCVs throughout Senegal took that time to hold activities for women and their community members. I did the same and some of the pictures that are newly posted are from that experience. I organized a day in ville with a number of different activities. We had college girls (high school) compete in the first all girls soccer match, we had music and tam tams there and that continued into the night. The entire day was a holiday and so many of the women were excited about a day devoted to them. Check out the pictures and you will see many of the wonderful women of maleme niani!
After IWD I took a trip to Kedougou to help with an eye clinic that was put together by a peace corps volunteer last year and continued this year. PCVs from Ked and Tamba got together to help the doctors who came from the US by translating. The eye doctors who came provided consultations, glasses, cataract and trichloma surgeries. I was there for about a week and had an amazing experience. It was great getting the opportunity to work with people and provide a service to them that was really tangible. Instead of waiting around and not seeing results as many pcvs experience, this was one experience where you could see the results immediately. There was definitely satisfaction from that!
I also just went down to Ked to an agfo summit with all agfo volunteers in Senegal. It was really helpful, lots of information, seeds exchanged and questions answered. With that I will go back to the ville to start up pepiniere and work with my local Eaux et Foret, a tree and forest agency based throughout different villes in senegal. Hope to work with the local agents, womens groups, and agfo volunteers in my community in a number of diff agfo technologies. I am definitely excited after being there and have a clearer idea of how to go about working with people in my community.
After the kedougou agfo summit, myself, and two friends went on a bike tour for an organization called Wula Nafa. The tour lasted three days and we went to three villages talking to them about their involvement in Wula Nafa and their upcoming activities (tree pepiniers, what they are planting, where they are planting it, selling of trees to community members, etc.). It was really helpful for a number of reasons: language practice, seeing the process of working with community members and how all of it plays out, and seeing living and working examples of agfo technologies and volunteers within different communities. We biked about 60 km in total throughout the days, camped along the Gambia River, and had a really good time. I hope to include those photos here as well.
I am now in Tamba getting computer stuff done and will go back to my village tomorrow morning. For those whoare keeping track, we recently had elections here and the current presidents party was ousted. It was big news and there have been lots of demonstrations throughout senegal. Check out local headlines for more info on this, I do not have much. Senegal’s independence day is coming up here on April 4th so it should be interesting to see what the political climate is like as people celebrate and look to the future.
I know not all of this is as detailed as some would like, just hard to pile it all into on post. I hope it is helpful to you and please post if you have any questions. Thanks for all your interest and keep me updated on how you all are doing in the states!
Oh, I WILL be coming to the states late july early august to see my lovely sister wedded off to her beau, Nate. Congratulations to the two of them and I am so excited to come and celebrate! I will keep you updated on those travel plans!
Lots of love from Sweaty and hot africa

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