…And He Was Never Heard From Again

The time has come, Abdoulaye said, to vote in the election.
I’m stuck at site and in a plight, but it’s for my own protection.
Who will win? The citizens ask, for it truly is a tossup.
Is it rigged? Is it not? I’ve heard a lot of gossip.

Welcome, my dear readers, to the beginning of the end. I’m losing my damn mind.

As of last Sunday, all Senegal volunteers are on standfast, meaning we can’t travel. Anywhere. This is due to the fact that Senegal’s presidential election is tomorrow. Consequently, this once restful country has decided to stop resting. The Senegalese youth have woken up, and they are CRANKY. I know I wrote about the election a few posts ago, but in case this is your first visit to my lovely blog, I’ll give you a recap.

Current president: Abdoulaye Wade
Age: 85
Face: scary looking

This is the end of Wade’s (pronounced “wad”, like a wad of gum) second term. The Senegalese constitution states that a president can only hold the position for two terms. Wade is running for a third. He found a loophole. The constitution was changed AFTER Wade became president, so he believes that he can run for a third term.

As I mentioned, Wade is old. Like MAD old. He uses old slang and his grand bubus are SO last century. To quote Amy MacDonald, he doesn’t know a thing about the youth of today.

Senegal is changing. It’s becoming more western. Skinny jeans and sequins are traditional garb now for ladies. For the fellas, Yankee caps and baggy jeans.

Wade is outdated. If you’re over the age of 40, you’re going to vote for him. Of course, I’m generalizing here, but you get my point.

So like I said, the youth have woken up, and they’re not happy. I get texts from my SSC (Safety and Security Coordinator, for those of you who need their hand held just to get through this post) saying there are riots in all the regional capitals. Tear gas canisters are getting thrown around like Mardi Gras beads. Tires are on fire. People getting killed. It’s a madhouse over here.

Thus, I am trapped at site. I have been here for nine days, and I’m going a little stir crazy. I have spent longer amounts of time in Sokone before, but I hate not knowing when I’ll be able to leave. I also hate that I don’t even HAVE the option to leave if I wanted to. It displeases me.

Things I’ve done since being here: rearranged my room, organized my med kit, changed all the names in my cell phone to characters from Harry Potter books, emptied out my garbage can (something I rarely do….go ahead, JUDGE ME), defragmented my computer, watched an entire season of Mad Men, bug bombed my house, cleaned my bathroom, got drunk at a bar and had to climb the wall of my family’s compound at midnight, made an Excel spreadsheet detailing the entire schedule for the girls camp I’m running in June, and wrote this blog post.

This stretch at site by the numbers:

Cups of tea drank: 5
Hangovers: 1 (Right. Effing. Now.)
Number of fellow volunteers I’ve called out of boredom: 14
Hard-boiled eggs consumed: 14
Text messages received from other bored PCVs: 72
Books read: 4
Height, in feet, of the wall I drunkenly fell off last night: 6
Movies watched: 1
Naps taken: 6
Number of freak-outs at children calling me toubab: 3
Songs listened to: hundreds, I’m sure
Number of times I’ve considered exercising to prevent boredom: 0
Number of times my host family, noticing my crazy eyes, has asked me if anything is wrong: 3

If you don’t hear from me in the next week, start wandering around baggage claim at Orlando International Airport. You might spot me.

    • Lindsey
    • February 25th, 2012

    What is my HP name? Love the post. Really trying hard to follow the election news. I never consider exercising either. But I do take the stairs. Sometimes.

    • kristen :)
    • February 25th, 2012

    Remember when you did that to some temp at the bookstore (HP Contacts). I about died!

    Stay safe m’dear. Love you and the post!

    • Fenella
    • February 25th, 2012

    Dear J,

    I commiserate with you and aim to spend the next three minutes I have before going to bed and while waiting for a free audiobook from The Guardian (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer) keeping you entertained.

    Today Mark and I went to see a friend of his from his high school days, and his wife and 3 year old. The 3 year old who we haven’t seen since he was 1.5 screamed upon seeing us. It was a madhouse upon immediate entry. We later learned little Oliver was really into Ice Age, so he’s pretending to be a dinosaur by screaming a lot. Lovely, really. We were making plans to go together to Alton Towers (like 6 Flags) and ride the new roller coasters. They have a new one since the only time I’ve gone with these same friends 1.5 years ago, which drops down onto another track, then goes backwards along the coaster you’ve just been on.

    Anyway, I struggled to stay awake driving back. It was about a 45 minute drive on mostly empty roads with crap stuff on the radio. I think Mark lied about not having an iPod connector because he didn’t want to listen to me singing along to Adele in order for me to stay awake. I think he’d rather die in a car crash because I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel than listen to me seeing Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. Why didn’t he drive? Because he’d been drinking of course.

    Time’s up. I’ll let you know how the book is.

    keep the sanity, luv.


    • Sca-rah
    • February 27th, 2012

    I too want to know my HP name (is it Bellatrix?). The idea of you falling off the 6 foot wall has made my day. What a classy move hobo. I love it!

    The bit about you not exercising and eating 14 eggs also makes me laugh. Sorry that your boredom is so comical but your description of the current president’s face alone has made you being stuck at site completly worth it.

    Let us know how it goes. Love ya!

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