back in kaolack. got here on thursday. this time we took 7-plaases back up from kedougou and i traveled wtih shelley, matt, and chris. the trip was far less painful as the trip there as were in 7-plaases and the garages in tamba and kedougou are far more relaxed. as painful as traveling can be it is nice to have companions and the three of them made good traveling partners. there were a lot of fun mishaps, some involving honey and children and broken stalks of grass (not necessarily all at the same time).
the day prior (wednesday?) shelley, liam, matt g., matt h., and i went out to a village called SEGOU where they are lucky enough to live by some gorgeous waterfalls/cascades. its a 70k bike ride roundtrip and a 4-5k hike up to the falls. it was a good adventure but i trailed behind the crew the whole time which starkly reminded me as to how much of a city girl i can be and that the majority of the people here are hardcore outdoorsy people with years of experience in biking and climbing and hiking and all that stuff i always wanted to do but didn't. i felt much like sassy from "homeward bound" (yes, i just made that reference) throughout the hike, picking my way through the rocks and trying to avoid stepping straight into the water. it's not that i'm a priss...it's just that...okay, maybe i am a priss. sometimes i feel that this creates a large cultural gap between me and them -- they talk about skiing and hiking and climbing and all i have is my urban life and spots of memories from small adventures in chinle or central america. i have spent my entire life wanting, desiring, and aching to be urban and now i find myself wishing i was more earthy and outdoorsy. funny how things work out.
regardless, the excursion was a lot of fun and a nice escape from the recent flurry of traveling and the stress from planning for my first planting season. it was gorgeous and it was fantastic to be surrounded by so many trees and water and sights that we do not get to see up in the ugly kaolack region. it was also good company and we enjoyed ourselves at the waterfalls eating mangoes (except me, as i am allergic) and hanging out and watching monkeys and just enjoying some time off. everybody feels quite refreshed. i personally feel exhausted and my body kind of hates me from having biked and hiked all day and then spending the next day crammed into a teeny car seat.
anyhow, i am back in kaolack now and was meaning to go back to site on sunday but have found out that there is a meeting with an NGO that i hope to work with in kaffrine so i might hang out here for a little bit more and try to get some work done. its a little strange because the agroforestry work season is really picking up and there is so much to do and so little time. at the same time, it is exciting because when i do go back to site, i will have loads of sacks to fill and seeds to plant. i finally feel like i have something concrete to do and to earn my keep. moreover, the new stage just got into country a few days ago which means that we are no longer the little babies of the peace corps community! i'm still definitely a novice in terms of agroforestry and wolof, but there certainly is no more handholding. 6 months have gone by fast!
there are a few pictures of segou on flickr but the camera doesn't really do it justice.