Peace Corps service has brought out my untapped potential. I am more resourceful, self motivated, patient and proactive. Yet, I can’t help but question the “real life” application of some of the new skills I have acquired…
Riding a bike: Before coming to Senegal, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 14 years old (except a rather traumatizing bike tour of Tuscany in 2005). Now, my bike is my primary mode of transportation. I take it on joy rides through the bush. I race down hills and cross a stream on my daily commute. I can transport boxes, chairs, water and multiple small children on my bike rack. Seriously.
Lighting a gas stove: Nothing comes between me and my morning coffee–even my finicky gas stove. Imagine trying to light a stove with an irregular gas nozzle and damp matches. I can do this. In fact, I do it every day. Seriously–no eyebrows lost yet.
Hair braiding: I can braid my own hair while squeezed into the back seat of a sept place, flying down an unpaved road, while insulting the drivers along with my fellow passengers. No seriously. I can.
Brandishing a machete: Need to cut grass? Peel and mango? Cut your hair? Open a can of ravioli? Scare small children? A machete is my tool of choice. That’s right. Any potential employers out there, look no further. I can wield a machete.
Multiplying by five: I have become rocket fast at multiplying by five. Why? Because all prices in the market are divided by five. For example, if something costs 25CFA the vendor will say it costs “five”. Something that is 1,000CFA is “two hundred”. Seems simple enough… until you are bargaining for a desk and the furniture maker offers you the price of “four thousand eight hundred and fifty”. Yeah. Can you do that math? I can.
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.