moving on in cordoba, spain

My ears perk as the familiar words of the Islamic call to prayer reverberate down a tangled street of Cordoba. I walk faster so I can stand beneath the awning of the giftshop where the call is emanating from. The call is so much sweeter and melodious than the one I had grown used to in Senegal. I instinctively reached for my iPhone to grab a recording to play for Baba Weliba (my Senegalese father). But, with the last Allahu Akbar I remember that this isn’t a vacation, and that I’m not going back home to Senegal. I won’t be… read this post

thanks for the laughs africa

My last days in Kedougou were a steamy, hot, emotional mess. A blur of left-handed handshakes, gift exchanges, and screaming children—for some reason all the women I worked with thought it would be appropriate to “offer” me their babies to take back to America, I respectfully declined but gave them Madonna and Angelina Jolie’s contact info. On my last day, against my better judgment I agreed to let my Dad say a prayer for me with our family and neighbors. I agreed even though I knew that I would probably do something inappropriate, like cry (in Senegal it is inappropriate… read this post

the things i missed…

One of my best friends in the entire world is getting married this weekend. And for the first time in a long time I have been cripplingly overcome with homesickness. I sometimes forget that while I am trying to survive day to day life here in Africa, life goes on in the rest of the world. Two years is a really long time. I’ve missed birthdays and engagements. Breakups and graduations. New apartments and new babies. The world keeps turning–even when I am not there. Besides all the personal moments that I have missed, there have been a lot of… read this post

my abusive boyfriend

Senegal is a boyfriend that treats me bad. He makes me feel small and helpless, unable to control even the smallest things around me. Want clean clothes? A nice warm bath? Something different to eat? Too bad. Senegal controls all that. I am at the mercy of his whims. He takes his toll physically as well. I have spent days curled up in pain on the ground outside my latrine because of the ailments he has thrust upon me. And rainy season is a constant battle against infection from Senegal inflicted cuts and scrapes. And he makes a fool out… read this post

a walk, some wire, and a lot of tears

peace corps, senegal, africa, west africa, injury, medical, blood, foot, leg

Alternative title: How I ended up in a Senegalese hospital. Earlier this week, I was walking down the road at dusk, on my way to visit a friend and break the Ramadan fast with her family. I stumbled over my flip flops (remember my new ones) and felt a piece of metal pierce my skin. I bent down to pull the piece of metal wire I saw sticking out of my foot–thinking that it had just pricked the surface–and just kept on pulling. A couple inches later, I was grasping a long rusted piece of metal, and blood was pouring… read this post

doing good

gambia river, senegal, sunset, peace corps, africa

If you haven’t already, read the introduction to this article here. I didn’t join the Peace Corps because I thought I was going to save the world. I joined because I thought my service would have a positive effect on myself and my community. The hardest lesson I’ve learned so far is that you can’t help people who won’t help themselves–and we (the western world) certainly have tried. NGOs and governmental aid agencies funnel money into projects that more than anything else, breed laziness and indifference. Villages with money to spare continue drinking dirty water–not because they don’t know how… read this post

“marry me”

If you haven’t already, read the introduction to this article here. “Do you have a husband?” I get asked this question nearly every day. Never mind that the asker may be a complete stranger or that it is none of their business, they ask anyway. After all, it is common knowledge that a young working woman in Senegal is simply biding her time until she can settle down with a husband. It’s like the 1940′s–but with uglier clothes and fancy cellphones. The result of this backwards thinking is that it is hard to work here as a female Peace Corps… read this post

in sickness and in…

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If you haven’t already, read the introduction to this article here. I am not a stranger to the ailments that plague foreigners in the developing world. There was the rather unfortunate encounter with tap water in Egypt, and the never-ending bout of Giardia that I contracted in Poland. But I have never been sick as severely and as often as I have been here in Senegal. My first couple months at site in Kedougou I was sick nearly every week. Throwing up, diarrhea, dehydration, fevers. I was fighting a losing battle in my attempt to stay healthy. Most of the… read this post

sugarcoated

sugar

It has been brought to my attention lately that I haven’t been being completely honest. This blog is a collection of stories and anecdotes about my time so far with the Peace Corps, but I have chosen to omit quite a bit. You see, I’ve been sugarcoating the truth. Only telling bits and pieces of what my life is actually like here. If you were to read through my posts you would probably get the impression that my life is one hilarious cross cultural encounter followed by a party at the regional house or a trip to Dakar. This is… read this post

hanging by a thread

Early Termination is a strange taboo that seems to haunt every volunteer’s psyche. We all know that with simply one phone call, we could call it quits and be on a plane back to America and back to everything we left behind… The reality of how little is keeping us here really hit home today. I am disappointed and heartbroken that one of my fellow volunteers and one of my closest friends here in Senegal decided to ET. No explanation given. But, they didn’t need a reason to go, in fact just wanting to go is reason enough… but I… read this post