demyst is a 4 day excursion that PC sends us on to various PCV sites so that we can get an idea of what the hell is really going on. up until then, we've been almost locked up in the training center which is a wonderful place but after some time, you start to think that the training center is senegal when what lies outside the walls really is senegal.
i got sent to kayfara deux which is a village in the sticks in the kaolack region of senegal. my PCV (annie/yeta) was totally awesome, a fellow agfo (agroforestry extension agent), and has a wonderful site and host family. it was great to get out of thies and see what my future may hold.
i also experienced a wonderfully romanticized africa moment: one night it rained heavily (which is a sight in and of itself to see in senegal) so the next day was an optimal time to go plant some trees. we shlepped through the mud down to the flood plain where yeta's host mom has some tomato plants (and all along i've thought jersey tomatoes were special...) and started digging holes to plant some lucerna (correct name? spelling?). since it was flooded, many of the village women came down to do laundry and the kids followed along to swim and bathe. there was much laughter, gossip, screaming, and giggling. at some point the kids randomly burst into a wonderfully harmonious song about senegal and i just couldn't believe it. here i was, in rural senegal, planting trees with the clouds hanging low and everything green and shiny with the most wondrous soundtrack to back it all up.
well, romanticism doesn't last long as several hours later i was down (once again!) with a 102 degree fever, vomiting, uncontrollable BMs, and complete delirium for the next 48 hours including 4+ that was spent on a rickety and cramped public "bus" to the regional house where i was to be picked up. ah, the joy of having your bubbles burst.
i currently hold the record of 1) first to get sick and 2) most often ill. but don't worry, a little poo and vomit won't hold me back. just pray for me wracked body and the strength of a thousand (wo)men because other than the multiple days i have spent curled up in a fetal position in airplanes, buses, al hums, and beds, senegal naa nekh ("i love senegal" although i am unsure on the spelling...it doesn't matter too much as wolof is originally only an oral language).
i am currently about 92% better and inshallah (god willing) i will be completely myself soon and for longer than a week.