Wednesday, April 4, 2007

feeling helpless, independence day etc.

my host sister here gets such bad menstrual cramps when she has her period that she literally just laid in bed and cried only getting up to vomit outside. I have never really witnessed such horrible cramping and discomfort. i feel like i don't know how to help her. i gave her some ibuprofen, but what can that do? once i leave, how is she going to get it? she was very appreciative, but i dont know how much it helps.
suggestions are appreciated. it's so hard to see such a spunky girl so lifeless and in so much pain.

last night a bunch of volunteers went out to a salsa dance club nearby. it was great fun. we danced our butts off until five in the morning. because today we had the day off for independence day. yesterday was the presidential inauguration. Wade was reelected. The american rapper who performed at the ceremony yesterday , echo, called senegal a continent. hmmm. at least he didn't call africa a country. i hate that.

language class is still endlessly frustrating. i think that my biggest struggle is forcing my family to speak to me in Pulaar. it's just so much easier in french! and we all just lapse into it because we like to hang out so much that creating a language barrier now just seems counterproductive. but they area really encouraging, especially my oldest sister isatou who has been here all week visiting from dakar on spring break.

i love the idle hours with the women. sitting around outside as soon as the air cools off everyone jabbering and braiding hair. usually there are several babies to pass around as well. i feel content to just sit and listen to a language i dont understand. the women all together make me feel safe and peaceful. its hard to explain to people how much we all laugh together. everythign is funny. i cant tell you all how many times my sisters will laugh at pictures tht i have over and over and make the same jokes. it's hilarious.

i finally did some yoga yesterday morning. i brought my mat to the center. i think it is going to become my morning ritual. not having regular exercise other than walking is just not good for my mental health.

my cold is finally on its way out. here is hoping that i wont have anything new to file into the unwell category.
a week from this friday we find out our site posts. very exciting. training really is clipping right along.



Jen Katchmark, MN, said...

Hi Caitlin. My name is Jen from the states and although we've never met, I was just reading your blog as I am planning on going to Africa next March with the PC. I just want to send all my well wishes and encouragement, as reading your blog is helping to psych me up and also helping me consider the reality of what it will be like rather than just the glamour. I have added you to my favorites and will check back often to follow your Peace Corps adventures!!! Best of Luck to you!

Lisa W. said...

Some suggestions to help your sister out (you may have already tried these, i can think of more if you have)... (1) a hot pad or warm water in a water bottle should certainly ease the pain and make the muscles relax. (2) there are muscles that run on either side of the pelvis that stretch from the lower spine to the femur and a tightening of these muscles can contribute to painful cramps. Stretching/opening the hips and pelvic area (the diamond pose) will help loosen these muscles and relieve cramps. Hopefully those ideas will help. Good luck!