Thursday, April 7, 2011

SALEMATA, KEDOUGOU! Alhamdelilaay...

We got our site announcements, and so after we swear in on May 13th I now know that I'll be headed to Salemata, in the southeastern region of Kédougou, where it is hot and green and pretty much everyone gets schistosomiasis at some point. (kidding! sortof...) My village, Salemata, is about 80 kilometers west of the main city of Kédougou, and I'm actually really happy about my posting; I've heard from very reliable sources that it's a beautiful site (the "prettiest site in Senegal," actually) and that the three nearby current volunteers are both good people and extremely funny, so that's good, too.

They let you know where you've been assigned by rounding up the entire stage (the word used for my training group, pronounced "stah-je," from the French) on the basketball court at the training center, where they've painted a giant map of Senegal. We're all blindfolded, spun around, and then walked over to where our sites will be. When everyone's in place, they tell everyone to take off their blindfolds and everyone looks around and either balks or gets all excited about their posting. Most people were pretty pleased, including me (I wound up pretty much exactly where I thought I'd be working, which was nice) and the whole thing was indeed filmed for Senegalese TV. I was interviewed (in French) about where I come from and the work I'll be doing, and if I can find a clip of that at some point I will post it for sure.

Next week we'll be doing Volunteer Visits in Kédougou, where we stay with current volunteers for a week, shadowing them and getting an idea of what our lives at site will be like.

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