The First Two Weeks

I’ve been in Senegal for two weeks, but it already feels like two months. We’ve been exposed to so much language, so much culture, so many people. It seems like I am already living a new life. For the past week I stayed with a host family in the coastal town of Mbour. Three other volunteers and myself worked with a language coach to start learning Pulaar Fulakunda, a language mainly spoken in the Kolda region of Senegal. On my first day with the host family there was the baptism of my sister’s week-old baby. Our group bought diapers and lotion and wished the mother that Allah would give the newborn good health. Relatives from all over the country came to our compound to celebrate. A goat was sacrificed to make a massive feast for the seventy five or so people that showed up. After eating there was lots of tea and dancing.

The next day we met with the village chief at his house. He expressed his thanks for our service and gave us an inspiring message. He said that people are people no matter where you are in the world. Long ago there was only one continent. We breathe the same air, walk the same land, share the same sea, and look up at the same sky. I wished I knew the language enough to talk more with the chief. He seemed like a such a wise man with so much responsibility and experience.

Now I’m back at the training center in Thies to debrief and continue learning. The staff said this is the “honeymoon phase” where everything is new and exciting. I hope I can ride this honeymoon for as long as possible before the reality of what I am undertaking sets in…


The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.


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