Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Elections and Camels.

As you may have heard, the national elections are coming up this weekend. The current president is running again, which is illegal according to the constitution, and many people are strongly against it. There have been riots in Dakar, as well as other regional capitols. I'll be hiding out in my village where nothing will happen : ) We might all have to go to designated points in our regions if things get bad so that the Peace Corps administration can keep track of every single volunteer, but luckily mine is at a campement with a nice pool. So, Im kind of hoping we get consolidated, as it is called. On another note, whenever people are unhappy about something in Senegal, they show their malcontent by burning tires. I will never understand why. Here's a photo I took offline:

Burning Tires. Effective.

I just got a bunch of pictures from other volunteers as well, so here are a few of the things Ive been doing lately, with more to come! Over the past week, three other volunteers and I have been painting murals ALL over the training center in Thies, so that it looks nice for the new group of trainees who arrive in a couple of weeks. Photos to come!

These are two of my favorite kids in my family, they are SO cute:

Djibbi (another favorite):

CAMEL! There is a campement of tents out in the desert where you can ride camels and eat moroccan cous cous in a tent. Its beautiful : )

Charlene beginning a logistically difficult mural. I helped finish it yesterday. It eventually reads "Bismillah," and is followed by the Peace Corps logo. Im still sore from trying not to fall off that roof:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh Well.

TWO YEARS. Two Years!!! Well, almost. I *almost* made it two whole years without dropping a bucket into the well. I dropped a t-shirt in there once, a month or so after arriving in my village, but that was it until last week.

In order to get water for showering, drinking, washing clothes, etc. I have to walk to the well, where families leave ropes tied to water bags, buckets, jugs, etc. I toss one down into the well, fill it with water (depending on the container this can require some finesse) pull it up, fill my bucket, and walk home with the bucket on my head. Families are really protective about their water-pulling contraptions because plastic and rope dont exactly come cheap.

Last week I went to the well, and mid-bucket toss I got distracted by thoughts of all the sushi Im going to eat in America and completely forgot to hold on to the rope, thus throwing the entire thing out into open air. I watched in horror as the bucket started to fill while the rope snaked 30ft down to the water table...of course two women walked up right as it started to sink. They immediately went into action mode and started tossing other buckets down to try and catch the sinking rope/bucket, but could only get it halfway up before the water weight pulled it back down. One of the women is my mute neighbor, and while holding the rope about 15ft above the water, she started shouting incomprehensibly at me while gesturing to a nearby field. I ran off in that direction having literally no idea what was expected of me, but came hopefully back lugging a 15ft long thorny branch that I saw on the ground. She gave me a thumbs up, and I lowered the branch (more of a log, really) down into the well, snagged the rope by flailing it around in the air, and slowly raised it (praying the branch wouldnt break) until the third women could reach it with a rake she had found somewhere.

Yeesh. The village women havent been letting me pull water since then, they take my bucket from me and fill it themselves...and I can't say I mind too much : )