pretty pictures

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

At WAIST there is a talent show and photo competition and this year I decided to enter some of my photos. Peace Corps volunteers are a disproportionately creative/artsy bunch, so I never thought I would actually win. But, surprise surprise my photos took two categories! Cool huh? Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent …

footwear: pc senegal spring line

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

Introducing Peace Corps Senegal’s spring line of fashion forward footwear. Made with lead-infused rubber, these questionable quality Chinese manufactured sandals are guaranteed to make you the talk of the town–though you probably already were… The Classic Flip Flop This timeless design is the best multipurpose shoe on the market. From working in the fields to lounging under a baobab tree, …

happy new year!

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

My Africa year is over, and I survived.  It certainly wasn’t easy.  But every struggle taught me a lesson, and every success brought me overwhelming joy.  I want to say thank you (again) to my family and friends back home. Mom, thanks for the weekly skype chats and monthly care packages. Sissy, I wouldn’t be able to survive without our …

pulaars and their cows

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

Pulaar volunteers in Senegal like to joke that like the Eskimos who have 100 words for snow, the Pulaars have 100 words for cow. From Ethiopia to Cameroon, the Pulaar are (in)famous for one thing, cows. To begin with, the Pulaar word for cow is nagge, but obviously it doesn’t stop there.  There are different words for a female cow, …

senegalese beauty salon

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

One of the markers of the holiday season here in Senegal is hair braiding. Senegalese women keep their hair braided in tight corn rows year round, but for Korite and Tabaski the braided hairstyles are much more elaborate and expensive. They buy long synthetic hair extensions and bejeweled accessories to adorn their hair. This is really serious business. Last month, …

a very spooky radio show

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

An ongoing project in the Kedougou region is the weekly Peace Corps radio show. Every Monday at 3pm Greenwich Mean Time the Kedougou Radio Communitaire–like your local NPR station, but with more Akon and Celine Dion–is taken over by a Kedougou region Peace Corps Volunteer (usually KC). The radio shows vary from week to week. The breadth of topics is …

waking up in africa

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

There is something incredibly beautiful about waking up here.  My sleep isn’t measured in fifteen-minute intervals and then interrupted by the blare of an alarm clock.  Instead, I have fallen into a natural sleeping pattern controlled by the rhythm of my surroundings. The transition from night to day is marked by the retreating of the night creatures. The crickets’ chirps …

melanie’s book club

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

No TV.  No Internet. What’s a girl in West Africa to do?  Read! The following is a list of the books I have read/am reading.  And I will continue to add to it during my service.  If you have a book you loved, tell me, chances are we have it in one of the Peace Corps regional house libraries and …

korite

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After a long and difficult month of fasting, the end of Ramadan finally came. A chicken was killed, potatoes were peeled, onions diced, shiny clothes donned and my hair was braided so tight my head pounded in pain. Korite arrived. And with a crack of thunder, and a scattering of rain the festivities were cut short. Alhamdulillah (Thanks be to …

a new kind of resume

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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 …