For the past couple of days I have been down in Kedougou on a Volunteer Visit (also known as demystification). The purpose of demystification is to give trainees an idea of what life as a volunteer will be like. They time the visit so that it comes almost exactly halfway through training, which is perfect. After visiting a volunteer and meeting volunteers in the region and hearing about their amazing work, I am really motivated to work hard and push through the rest of training.
So, after the 12 hour drive down to Kedougou, we were met by a huge mob of Kedougou volunteers.They were very welcoming and were excited to meet us and tell us about life in “the bush”. They made us an amazing American feast (hamburgers, coleslaw, potato salad, french fries, and fried okra) the food was delicious. Seriously yummy.
During the volunteer visit I was able to explore the city of Kedougou and it is a perfect site for me. It is small, so I feel like I will be able to integrate into the community. But since Kedougou is the capital of the region it has all the amenities I could really ever need, a post office, government offices, a large daily market, and TWO paved roads. My home is also just over a mile from the regional house (is actually more like a compound—just traditional Senegalese huts). And the Kedougou regional house has a shower. Really.
I would have taken a photo, but my camera is broken. I will prove it as soon as a replacement arrives from America.
The volunteers in the region have worked hard to create a tight network, and it was great to spend a couple of days watching them work. The volunteer I shadowed was amazing (only been here a year and speaks amazing Pulaar). He was able to introduce me to a couple of potential work partners and we went out to a garden and talked with a farmer who is growing alternate varieties in the off season and making a killing at the market. All in all, the visit was amazing. I cannot wait to install and to make the city my home. I think that I am going to be really happy in Kedougou for the next two years. The landscape is beautiful. Rolling hills, waterfalls, trees, and monkeys. It also has a long rainy season (and we all know that I feel most at home with a little rain). I feel like I won the lottery twice. First getting to go to Senegal, and now being placed in Kedougou. Lucky me.
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.