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).
AFRICA: 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. Dakar is stereotypical Africa. Goats/chickens/cows running around, women with baskets on their heads, etc. It was insane.
Then it got beautiful Senegal is known for its’ balboa 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 balboa 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 5 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. It was something I will remember for the rest of my life.
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.