Saturday, January 30, 2010

Really Fast Post

Hello, everyone!

I'm borrowing a computer before everyone else is up to write this very quick blog post because I know that if I wait a week until I am back in Internetland I will miss some things. But because I am getting a ride up the mountain (!!!) in the Peace Corps car (!!!), I have to be quick so I can go pack my stuff--thus, the list:

~I have more stuff than usual to pack because I bought things like concrete, corrugated metal sheeting, and 23 kg of paint in order to outfit my new hut.
~If I'm lucky, Peace Corps will reimburse me for that.
~The walls of the hut were built but not plastered when I left village last time.
~I'll be in Dakar region most of February for the all-West Africa Volunteer Conference, WAIST, and then IST (In-Service Training). Everything is fine here, and did I mention that the giardia I was sure I had ended up going away after one last painful hurrah that led me to call the med people and beg them to let me take the drugs. Which they did. So I am vindicated.
~The well project is going forward, but the plan now is to dig only one, because UNICEF is apparently putting in a forage--deep, covered, pump-well--not 20 meters from the site of one of the wells I was going to dig. The other well I have decided needs to be partially paid for by the village, so that it will be more of an "our achievement" than "our Toubab's gift", and so am waiting for them to commit to feeding the diggers and buying 4 sacks of concrete.
~I'm getting lots of practice at designing my own clothes.
~If anyone knows how to put an .mp3 up on blogger, let me know, because I have some radio clips that I'd love to share (in Pulaar, of course) if possible.
~We had a three-day language seminar recently and it went really well. Given that putting four people with different strengths, language skills, and learning styles together in a really stressful but unstructured environment to steer a class for which they've all got different objectives is never a recipe for a warm fuzzy feeling, it still went well. I learned a lot and am pretty happy with my language skills so far. I think they'll only get better over the course of 2 years and am confident that they're pretty adequate right now. Not bragging. Well, not bragging much.
~I'm trying to make plans about grad school--it's early, you say. Not so much, say I, given that this fall is when I'll be applying if I am going to attend directly upon returning to the states. Even if I don't attend until fall 2012, it's still good to start thinking about applying, because when you're me and have no idea of the general discipline (let alone field and focus), it's good to have a good run-up. So that's part of February, doing lots of grad school research so I can finally decide what on earth (maybe that is more literal for me than for many other people) I am going to study.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I recently got a bunch of letters and 5 packages in the mail. Carol, mom, dad, Ari, Jen, Marian, Paul C., and Maddy, thank you for the letters! I haven't written back to all of them yet (except Paul's and Maddy's, which came a while ago), but I will, soon. This week. To Ari goes the keeping-my-brain-alive prize, because he sent me two awesome books relating to ethics, which is something that increasingly interests me. Yay Ari! Thank you! To Mom goes the keeping-my-body-alive prize, because of the massive amount of food (3 lbs of dark chocolate! 2 lbs of dried apricots! Many other things! Including dried figs!) you fit in that box. Thank you! And to dad and Kate goes the prize of THANK YOU FOR ALL THE PACKAGES, because they sent me three, each one full of great stuff--from a travel backgammon game (wooo!) and a knot-tying kit to dried berries and (amaaaazingly) granola. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you! THANKYOU!

For all of you who have sent packages and been frustrated that they have not yet arrived, thank you in advance. Also, do not fret: the packages get stuck in Tambacounda until either they get so many that they finally do send them down here in a car or someone from Kedougou goes up and rescues the packages and brings them down here. On my way back down from IST I plan to stop in Tamba and rescue any remaining packages. So, don't worry--it doesn't mean they're stolen.

For all the rest of you--write me letters! It costs a dollar and earns you a shiny letter in return--all the way from Africa! The only obligation is, keep my letter so that if I want to copy all of them and make a binder of "letters I wrote from Senegal" I can. A nanni? (Ya hear?)

Oh and one last thing--I have started dropping the Pulaar "ya hear" into my English. Yes, I now say things like "If you drink my boisson I'll be really unhappy with you, hear?" I shudder to think what will happen to it in the next 20 months.

Love to all. Except in cases where that would be awkward. Oh, why not--even in cases where that would be awkward. Thanks again everyone for all the support.

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