Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Didn't it Rain.

Rainy season is officially here! While my memories of last rainy season (July-September) are one big blur of long, muggy, hot, itchy, mosquito-ey days, I am super excited for it this time around. I had forgotten about the cold thunderstorms, the beautiful sky before and after a rain, the tadpole puddles, and the drastic transformation of the landscape from a sandy wasteland, to an all-out awesome jungle. There are gorgeous birds everywhere, I don't have to go to the well for water as often, and I can now plant beans, corn, okra, bissap, and moringa in my yard with little to no maintenance required!

Anyways, I've spent the past couple of weeks helping with nutritional gardening seminars in the Kaolack region. I also spent a week visiting another volunteer at her site, which was really fun : ) But, once again, I'll let photos do my talking. Enjoy!

Clouds before a storm:

Weeding the yard with a hand hoe:

The Seereer Delta, amazing saltwater/mangrove swimming spot:

Morgan's hut, and dog, Tiya (which means Peanut):

Gardening tournee:

My closest neighbors, and the awesome French ppl who own a pizza place in Mbour:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Recipe for having the most fun humanly possible:
1. Spend a year and a half in a small african village where you are perma hot and bereft of any and all lucrative dining options.

2. Take two weeks of vacation, fly to Rome, and meet your grandma, sister, uncle, brother, dad, and stepmom, all of whom you're super excited to spend time with.

3. Spend three days in Rome eating, walking like 12 miles a day, feeling like a real human in real clothes and makeup again, getting a haircut, buying nice things, and wearing yourself out seeing as much as possible in a short amount of time.

4. Travel to a GIGANTIC cruise ship with aforementioned family, get on, and go straight to the buffet that will be running 24/7 for the next week of your life.

5. Eat and drink everything you want all week with total abandon.

6. Somehow end up losing a pound for all of your gluttony, as a result of being back in civilized places where you are not forced to eat oily rice and fish all day long, and where there are fun activities available!

We had an amazing trip, and spent a ton of time just hanging out, playing chess, playing card games, going to events on the boat like bingo/trivia/concerts/ice skating shows, going ice skating and rock climbing, playing putt putt, going out dancing or to the casino at night, and sitting by the pool or visiting ports all day. We traveled from Rome to Sicily (which looked like Hawaii up around the volcano!), then Malta, Turkey, Crete, and spent a few days just sailing and looking out at gorgeous islands.

We were supposed to go to Athens, but went to Malta instead because of riots. I took one look at Malta, decided it looked too much like Africa, and spent the day at the pool/buffet with my little brother who was also more interested in expanding his waistline than his cultural horizons. There was sushi on the buffet one day, and I made myself a sushimountain. But, in general, every minute of the trip was a lot of fun, and we saw all kinds of amazing things, so I wont even try to recap all of it! I'll just put up some photos instead!

One last story, though, I was in the Rome airport ready to head back to Senegal, and looked around for the check in counter. Among all of the orderly lines, people quietly leaving each other enough personal space to go about their business, and stylishly dressed stick thin women/gorgeous men...one particular check in counter stood out like a sore thumb. Mine. It was an all out shouting shoving Clusterf*** I knew I was headed back to Africa the second I entered the fray. Home sweet home : )

It was hard to say goodbye and head home to Senegal, but things are back to normal now that Im safely in Dakar. When I came back here after going home for Christmas it was hard because I had been at home for a while, but the cruise just felt like vacation since it wasn't home for any of us there. Nobody was ready to go back to work, but thats the way it is! It's nice being back, I have a lot of work in front of me, and a busy couple of months coming up. Im really excited for this "Home Stretch," of nine months, where I dont plan on leaving country, and hope it will be enough time to get my projects all wrapped up. I know from experience that the time is going to fly by (well. Except for August, which is Ramadan, which is hot and muggy and sans-food) so I'll need to stay on task to get everything taken care of here, as well as start planning life when i get back. This fall I will be applying for grad schools, looking for a summer job, and planning a trip for the end of my service!

That's all for now, enjoy the photos!
(in no particular order)

After traveling for 24 hours to get back here, I sat down and took a picture to express exactly how I felt at the moment. Exhausted, hungry, and none too excited to be back in the oven that is senegal. After some sleep I jumped up, energized, in a good mood, and ready to go, but I thought I would document the moment anyways : )

Thanks for reading!!