So I made it! I got up yesterday morning, had my last SB (tragic, I know). We got onto a bus and went to a federal building right by the capitol. I got a yellow fever shot, and then we went to the airport. I made some final phone calls, which were sad, then the flight.

THE FLIGHT: Long as f. I wanted to sleep SO BAD, but I only slept for about 45 minutes. I watched ‘Waitress’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Tim Burton’s).

SENEGAL: We landed at 5 AM this morning (seems like forever ago), and got our bags. It’s a PC tradition to tie yarn to your bag so people know it’s the PC’s. It was convenient b/c all the bags had already been grabbed from the carousel. We loaded our luggage on separate carts, and they told us NOT to accept offers for help because they will ask for money. No one seemed to have any trouble…until I busted out of Dakar International. I am surrounded by tiny white girls, yet this guy comes to ME, grabs my cart, and goes “I’m the driver! I can take your bags!” I politely declined, but he insisted. I looked back at one of my fellow volunteers, and he’s shaking his head “NO”. I am freaking out, and telling him no in my sternest voice (which isn’t so stern). Finally this PC-related woman shoves the guy away and apologizes to me. Twas awk and embarrassing and OF COURSE it happened to me.

We then loaded into 3 separate vans (there are 64 of us). We were crammed in like sardines. We then made our way to Thies, which is east of Dakar. The ride was…interesting. I wanted to sleep but I kept looking out the windows. Goats/chickens/cows running around, women with baskets on their heads, etc. It was insane.

Senegal is known for its’ baobab trees, which are HUGE. The trees are what Rafiki lived in in ‘The Lion King’, and the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom is a baobab tree. They are everywhere. They also have an amazing bird population. Other critters I have seen: huge lizards, and a BRIGHT GREEN caterpillar that was gigantic as well.

When we got to Thies, they gave us bread with jam for breakfast, then we slept from 10-12. It was helpful but also possibly made it worse. We are in the PC Training compound, which used to be barracks for the French army but was given to PC Senegal in 1963. I feel like I’m at camp. I am sharing a room with five other guys in bunkbeds. This is only temporary. I am moving in with my host family in a few days, and there I will get my own room.

When we got up, we had lunch, which was yummy. Rice with carrots, peppers, and beef. We sat on the floor on mats and ate out of a MASSIVE communal bowl. Five people per bowl. No shoes on the mats. I was excited because the food was good, but a current volunteer said this would probably be the best meal we ate. Sucks.

We then had seminars all day. Basically introductory stuff, and then we had medical interviews, which were essentially the administration of malaria pills. I am sitting on a bench outside, and I am freaking out b/c I haven’t taken the pill yet b/c I haven’t eaten, and I keep getting bit. Dinner isn’t ready yet though!

After that, WE DANCED. It was AMAZING. One of the coolest things I have ever done. These three guys busted out these drums, and they were GOOD. We danced with the PC locals, as well as the other volunteers. We all stood in a circle and took turns dancing. Normally I don’t do stuff like that, but I got SO into it. It’s really hot here (similar to FL actually, so I’m fine), so I was DRENCHED in sweat.

Tomorrow is language interviews, which means they will test us to see which language class we’re in. I am probably a beginner.

Gotta go. They are hitting the dinner drum (no joke). The compound has wireless here, so hopefully I will be able to update tomorrow.

    • Lindsey
    • August 11th, 2010

    SOUNDS AWESOME! Can’t wait for pictures. I’m glad you got there safe and can update often. It’s probably good they are keeping you busy – no time to worry about anything. love you

    • Sca-rah
    • August 11th, 2010

    That sounds so great! I wanna dance to crazy African drums. Gosh I want to visit so bad. I like how you relate things to Lion King. I makes me happy. Update more please. We want to hear it all and I’m going to need pics. Love you!!

    • Allyson
    • August 11th, 2010

    Please categorize all the wildlife you find and send me back samples! I want to investigate. Glad to know you made it safely and that you like it thus far. Thought about you last night; I randomly woke up at 3AM, checked the world clock on my phone and found it was 7AM where you were–prob on your bus ride. Don’t get malaria and keep updating 🙂

    • Gale (aka mama)
    • August 11th, 2010

    What a great reception….”remember for the rest of my life.” I think your adventure will be filled with these moments and days – hopefully, the joyful kind like today! Thanks for the update and the Classic Jamie delivery…love it and you. I’ll now be on daily hunts for Africa/PC news from Senegal – no pressure! Love you!

    • Sca-rah
    • August 11th, 2010

    I totally added Senegal to my world clock just now. Thanks White!

    • The Amazon
    • August 12th, 2010

    Amazing, just incredible. You are gunna have to remember E Alv’s fiest, my bitchiness and Mary’s hardcore attitude and use that power next time you are surrounded by people attempting to take your luggage =] I know you are taking a ton of pictures to help document this as well, I cannot wait until I see them! And I’m agreeing with Allyson – don’t get Malaria and I love these updates (let us know what else they feed you and if you ever come into an Sbux)!! Love you boo!

  1. Your mom was nursing her hurt nose so I read your post aloud to her. We both laughed several times.

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