Wednesday, November 7, 2007

this is it!

we received our last assessments today and it has been confirmed that i will be installed on site next week! all the AGFOs did really well and will all be sworn in and sent to site. i am really proud of us, as we are an awesome sector and i think we are going to do great things here in senegal.

in order to be sworn in one must get at least an 80% on the agfo tree test (tree identification) and reach the level of intermediate low in language. i -- alxamdoulilah -- got a 110% on the tree test (the extra 10% because i knew the tree names in wolof, when we were only required to know them in latin) and reached intermediate high on my wolof exam. i found all of this out literally like, 30 minutes ago, and it is just now hitting me that in a few days my life is about to change completely...again. i am very excited but simultaneously terrified.

swear-in happens on friday in dakar and i will be wearing my corite outfit, which i am not the biggest fan of -- you can see pictures of it on my flickr -- but appreciate very much because my wonderful host family bought me the fabric as a welcome gift. (yes, i finally updated my flickr, but have not been taking many pictures and they are in backwards chronological order. i promise i will take more pictures once i get on site.). i also somehow wound up getting thr the lead part in the 10-15 minute skit that we will be performing at swear-in that demonstrates what we've learned about senegal and its culture. might i mention that all my lines are in wolof and sprinkled with seerer, pulafunta, fulakunda, mandinka, and jaxonke? might i also mention that they air peace corps swear-ins on RTS1 -- the national television channel? so there is a huge chance that a large part of the electricity-privileged-tv-owning population of senegal will see me stumbling over my lines in wolof. hooray! granted, it will probably only be 5 minutes of air time but being that i am in every scene of this skit, i'm pretty sure i will be seen.

tomorrow is the last day of pre-service training and i will be spending most of it plucking chicken feathers. after swear-in on friday we will be having a big party for ourselves, the trainers, and our host families (hence the chickens) at the training center and then on saturday, people start trickling out of thies and heading to their sites. it is a bizarre and crazy feeling and while i am excited for this, i am also somewhat sad because i have made some really wonderful friends and some of them are going far away. i will not see these cats for another 3 months (until in-service training), which may not seem like much, but then consider the fact that i have been with these people literally every single day since i left new jersey for this crazy adventure.

on sunday i leave thies for kaolack (my new region) and will be there until thursday. i stay in kaolack to purchase things for my new hut and to hang out with other current PCVs and to meet some of the eaux et foret peeps that i will be working with for the next two years. thursday, i get installed and the crazy adventure that is my life in the african bush will begin.

(if you want to write me letters/packages, stop sending them to the thies address. i will be getting a new postal address in kaolack and will post the new address as soon as i can. also, i am transitioning into a life of no electricity, running water, or internet so from now on out, letters will be far better than emails -- though emails will still be appreciated!)


Dad said...

Hey! When Dad was in ROC Army long time ago, we called all the newly recruited soldiers 'food bird', and I guess that's same idea why USMC called their new arrivals as 'maggot', they all mean to point out that these new trainees are in the bottom of the food chain.

Nevertheless, after gone through the hard-core training, either 'foodbird' or 'maggot' all had earned their respect and become a real soldier.

Now, you too have gone through a tough training, breaking through the language barrier, overcome the major culture shock, as well as justifying the dramatic downgrading of the living conditions. I'll say that's an outstanding accomplishment and demonstration of bravery. Dad salutes to you! Soldiers!!

Natalie said...

yay! congratulations! that's awesome. i'm so proud. :)