I just got done showing the new stage around Tamba. 5 girls were sworn in as a part of the Tambacounda region and will be installed into their sites tomorrow. We helped them get some of the necessary items (buckets, rope, etc.) and showed them around Tamba a little. Its weird knowing my stage has already passed the ¼ point and moving swiftly towards the ½ mark! I am in Tamba for a few days helping them and also working on pc related things!
Life in Maleme Niani is going. I definitely have had my ups and downs but working through it and trying to get a realistic schedule I can live with. Have a tendency to go stir crazy with sitting around so I’m working at picking up hobbies, finding good books, and hopefully creating projects in a number of different areas. I also have recently been working on my cooking skills and hope to bring those back for family and friends when I come to the states in August! Be on the lookout for greasy rice and lots of it!
My family in the ville is doing wonderfully. Maleme Niani was recently updated to a Commune, meaning we now have an elected mayor and adjunct mayor. My dad in ville was actually elected adjunct mayor and as the people of my community say he will be eating his money soon. (meaning have a lot of money to spend on things and food, etc. which I am almost positive he will not do, but my family is moving up in what one could call the social index of a village). It was interesting to see political dynamics in a village and compare them to those that occur in the states and especially in a more developed community. I found myself getting annoyed with some of it just because the political power caused some of the people who were running to become a lot more self-centered or egotistic than they had been in the past. A lot of time in village I find myself in a little world of people who don’t have much so therefore all they do have and all they are is out on the table for everyone to see. What you see is what you get, for the most part. It was interesting to see how power could change some individuals and what that means for we as a people as a whole. To know that a lot of the power struggles, social hierarchies, and facades of all sorts are evident, in a lot of cases, to cope one’s culture was kind of reassuring. We are all simply people. When stripped away, to be honest, we are all in the same place: having to eat, sleep, breathe, and do a number of things that might be gross or unattractive to some, in order to live healthily. That was appealing to me. Knowing (to be blunt) that my bush-squatting family members here or my toilet seated family members in the states are made of the same stuff, have many of the same tendencies, and simply adapt in order to survive.
Along with that tangent, this morning I took a run early just as the sun was coming up. It was about 6:30 and I thought to myself its as if all of Africa is asleep right now. It was so peaceful. Senegalese are known for their music, cheb-mamas, men who harass you, etc. but at 6:30 this morning it was simple. I suppose that goes along with façades in that every day we go and do our things, whether that be cook the meal, tend the farm, build a shade structure, untie the goats, go to school, etc (obviously these are related to Senegal, although they most definitely could be a part of your culture wherever you are) and those activities create the environment we live in. This morning it was bare-bones, no people (or very few) simply the sprawling environment, the sun coming up, the cool breeze (thank goodness). I guess I was appreciative of the vastness of it all. The fact that it was there and things were living and dying without humans in the picture was a good thing to be reminded of and to soak up. Sometimes its nice to be reminded of how small each of us really are.
Well I didn’t come to the computer with an idea of what I was going to write and here it is. Hope my thoughts are applicable to you! Keep me updated on your lives. Also, check out the website I have made below which includes a project to raise money for mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria in Senegal. All the information is there.
Thanks all and all the best to you wherever you are.