Friday, February 22, 2008

back in kaolack

and WAIST weekend has ended. overall WAIST was everything it was promised to be and more. there was copious amounts of beer and hot dogs and falafel chawarmas and softball and dancing and good food and all around good times. i also got to stay at an expat's amazingly gigantic apartment where there was hot showers and free wireless and real beds and marble floors and plush couches and televisions and all kinds of amenities that i haven't been around for a very long time. i really enjoyed myself.

it was loads of fun but in a way, thank God it is over because it was about 5 days of partying and going all out. i had been battling a fever prior to the weekend and as soon as i felt a little bit better i delved right into the partying. by the end of the weekend i was exhausted and recessing into illness. the day after WAIST i went to bed at 5PM and did not get out of bed until 11AM the next day.

i am also somewhat glad for it to be over because there is only so much overconsumption one can do without starting to feel guilty and out of place. don't get me wrong, the experience was loads of fun and the ex-pat community overwhelmingly generous and kind, but now that i am a country/boonies girl, i couldn't help but think a lot about what my villagers would think were they to see me in that context or to be in that context themselves.

team kaolack (toxic waist!) did awesome and made it into the semifinals -- no thanks to me as i didn't play. but i was team designer -- designed the t-shirts and the team capes (our team's theme)! i completely shot my voice cheering for our team (on top of a sore throat) but unfortunately we lost to mauritania in the semifinals. i really loved being a part of team kaolack as i think we are the best region in senegal with the coolest and chillest people. yeah, we might live in a cesspool (kaolack really is a disgusting city/ugly region), but the people make up for it and i have discovered my kaolack pride.

the wallet was never found. in fact, i am inclined to believe that it was stolen but regardless, all that stupid business has mostly been taken care of. peter (who one day will be president) was awesome and despite being really ill went to the police with me and helped me file a report of loss/theft and then waited for a while at the bank with me to get some cash. the situation sucked a lot but i suppose it is all part of the experience and peace corps is awesome enough to be reimbursing me the cash that was lost. senegal is really breaking me down and slowly taking my personal possessions from me. in the past month i have lost and broken necklaces, earrings, wallets, water bottles, clothing, just about everything i have brought with me from the states. i am learning how to let go of these things. (fun story: in terms of the water bottle, i was slightly distraught about losing it over the weekend but came back to kaolack with a package waiting for my from my godparents. i opened it up and there was a brand new nalgene filled to the brim with candy! talk about awesome.)

i stayed in dakar an extra day (and hence slept for 18 hours) to talk with med about my health because quite frankly, it sucked getting sick as often as i did. since i've gotten here it has been an uphill battle with my health and i would like to think that back in the states i was relatively healthy. it couldn't be malaria because i am on my prophylaxis like it is my job so after talking with the medical officer and stuff we've determined that it is...stress. lame, right? i was kind of embarrassed at first that the reason why i always felt like shit would be stress, but i guess it makes sense. first off, we toss around the word "stress" pretty loosely in the states (i.e. "i have a paper due tomorrow, i am so stressed!!") so it sounds a lot more foolish than it actually is. secondly, i admit that i am a pretty high strung person to begin with (have you noticed?!) and this peace corps senegal thing is pretty stressful -- language, culture, food, temperature, everything being new, etc. so...yeah, i guess the stress would beat up my immune system a bit and make me susceptible to every disease and sickness out there. apparently most PCVs don't realize just how stressed out we are but apparently this is a really stressful situation to put ourselves in? anyhow, i am working on my stress levels and trying to find means of relaxation and readjusting my life so that i can stop getting sick and go out there and kick some ass aka plant some trees. if anybody has any suggestions, send 'em over.

so now i am in kaolack. i'm chillin' here for a day or two and plan on going back to site on sunday. i am a little nervous as i haven't been there in a month and i haven't spoken wolof in a really long time and i am just overall terrified about starting my work now that IST is over and i am fully trained now as a PCV. as an agfo, my work really starts this coming month because the rains will be coming in june/july (inshallah) and i have to get my tree nursery started so that when the rains start we can outplant trees. i will pretty much be engrossed in agfo from now until september and by then it will have been a full year that i've been here. time is moving pretty quickly.

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