Friday, April 13, 2007

Site Placement!!!!

We received our sites today and I could not be happier!! Well, maybe if i was on the coast like a few other volunteers, but here is the rundown...

I cannot tell u online exactly the name of my town because of PC policy but i can certainly tell you in an email. That being said, get ready for this...

Starting mid May at the very beginning of the dry and hot season I will be going up NorthEast just outside of Matam which is on the border of where mali, mauritania and senegal meet.
Things I know about my site...
I will be in a town of 10,000 people
I will have electricty!!!! OMG!!!
My family compound has running water!!! exciting and unexpected.
AND I WILL HAVE CELL PHONE RECEPTION!!! Yes, its true so to all of you that have been shuffling your feet and not gotten skype, do it now and youll be able to talk to me for 2 years no problem.
i feel amazingly fortunate. all that time and energy spent on solar power was totally unnecessary. good call dad...that was his prediction.
I will be replacing a volunteer who finished her 2 years and has opted to stay a 3 year in dakar. she has been leading my health training here in thies and now i can pick her brain about her site, her host family, the people she works with etc.

here are a few of the inconveniences/reasons why im still hardcore even with newfound amenities...
Be prepared:
when i arrive in midmay the high during the hottest part of the day for roughly the first 3 months im there will be.....

140 degrees farenheit

no, no, that is not a typo. i am kidding you all not. at night it will get DOWN to roughly 100. Matam for 2 months out of the year consistently breaks the record for the hottest place IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. LITERALLY.

Am i terrified? 100 percent yes.

Luckily, the rest of the year it is mostly manageable. in fact during the cool season it can get down into the which point i am told i will feel like i need a parka b/C ill be used to such absurd temperatures.
I am told that the heat is pretty much the biggest challenge.

but for the moment i am trying to focus on the perks, like the fact that i can sleep with a fan because i will have electricity (see muj i will never be cured of my addiction, even in africa).

as for work that i will be doing, because im in a big town i will be likely working at the local district health center/clinic and be more involved in leading things like causeries in coordination with actual healthcare facilities. i will have access to schools to work with, and birth attendants, plenty of resources. ultimately, because i am coming in after another volunteer a lot of the hardest part has been done for me. everyone is already aware of the PC and she has paved teh way for me with many local heads etc.
id love to give you all better descriptions, but i was only able to briefly corner her today and talk to her about the nitty gritty.

i will still have an outdoor latrine (which i love), my hut is in the family compound but separate. it is cement with a tin my dad so rightly put it, that is an oven, not a home. u pretty much just dont do anything during the hottest hours of the day.
i have 2 stick beds. one is outdoors and i anticipate sleeping in that one only. the one inside is mainly for the "cold" season.

there is minimal internet access. the nearest internet cafe is 25 km away, but i am not concerned about that because of the super cell phone reception!

the travel time time to dakar is roughly 13 hours on a good day. but there is a tiny tiny airport in matam that u can take small seater planes to from dakar. this makes me feel more comfortable because if there is ever a medical emergency i can be in dakar faster than many other volunteers, and those of you coming to visit wont have to tak a 13 hour bus ride to see my town!

the diet up north is fairly well balanced and the other volunteer has told me that she ate really well with her family and that one fo the sisters is a great cook. a lot of my siblings there have children so there are lots of kids running around. one of them is 2 months pregnant right now. that will be so exciting to be a part of.

finally knowing where i am going is making me put all of my efforts into mastering pulaar. i am so eagerly looking forward to my site and kicking serious butt at this post. (though perhaps not between the hours of 11-7 from may to september....hhhhmmmm).

i promise to update more as i find out about my life for the next 2 years.

so think of me in a month or so when i cant even move because of the stifling heat. at least its not humid???? hhhmmm, maybe i can just give my uncrushable optimism a rest this time?

im off to the beach for a night tomorrow with the other volunteers for a much needed break.
thank you all for reading and sticking with me during all of this wondering and anticipation.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Wow. Aren't you afraid that your skin is going to melt off? I think you should shave your head. You'll get really good at laying around doing nothing. Every time the heat and humidity here starts to get to me, I'm going to think of you. I will have no reason to complain.