Saturday, April 21, 2007

Week 5

I can't believe that we are through week five already. Though it feels like on the one hand we've been here forever, I also am realizing that site arrival is so very soon. We have our first official language assessment on Tuesday and I am nervous as all hell. This is where they tell us how we're progressign and if we're going to have to seriously bump it up a notch to make it to the required level of 'Intermediate Low' by week 8.
Fingers crossed.
Though talking to my dad made me feel a lot better. Realizing that this is in fact my 4th language and after only 4 weeks of classes I can already write a full letter about my daily activities in Senegal is pretty damn impressive.
I'm learning to be easier on myself. That is my biggest challenge.

This week has been full of ups and downs. Everyone has been really tired. I had an emotional encounter with a talibe the other morning. I was waiting with Erin for the PC bus to pick us up and take us to the center just like every other morning. We both had headphones on (neither of us are morning people) and I had Mujy's playlist on. Normally I just say no to all the talibes because id rather give them food than money and i dont usually have any on me. but this morning i gave one of them the banana i had been saving for breakfast. all he did was give me a sweet shy sheepish smile and i nearly burst into tears. It was because his reaction was so meek that I was so stricken. It was like he couldn't believe that he was being given such a treasure. Usually they are fed leftover dried scraps of white baguettes from people, or a few spoonfuls of gruel or given some sugar cubes. Almost never does someone bestow fruit upon them. It was just so sickening that something so little could mean so much. I patted him on the head and watched him walk quickly away to go find another temporary food source.

I have been giving lots of massages to people lately. It feels great to be needed, but I'm also realizing how desperately I need to be caring for my own body. It's nearly impossible to get regular exercise and I know that i am craving some regular yoga classes. It is just so exhausting that I have not worked up the routine. Perhaps at site I will bring new meaning to the term 'hot yoga' in the wee wee hours of the morning when it is only 110 degrees.

For those of you that are worried about my hydration status, have no fear. As a health volunteer I am already equipped with the exact formula for making my very own oral rehydration salts (ORS) and I plan on using them regularly/almost daily.

Oh and some SERIOUS congratulations are in order to many people in my life:
To John and Mujy for being accepted into PhD and Master's programs (respectively) at OXFORD in England. Congratulations! I am so thrilled they will both most likely be there next year and closer to me.
to my fabulous cousin KAREN for her acceptance at Hunter College in NYC! Congrats girlie, my mom told me. I KNEW you could do it and I am SO proud of you.

So last night some of us needed a break from language, and families, and culture shock etc. so we went to what we have affectionately termed the KungFu Theater which is perhaps the greatest theater experience ive ever had. 6 of us went and watched an old french movie in black and white on a huge screen outside in pleine air that was set in teh 70s in LA and had kung fu. it was wonderful to sit with friends have a beer and laugh at the ridiculous cinema playing out in front of us. the movie was called Blood Warriors. Highly recommended! except not....

someone commented that it does not seem like i'm experiencing culture shock. I am finally starting too especially as we are delving deeper into issues like how conservative the northern region is where i'm going. specifically, regarding women's issues. like early age of marriage for girls: around 13!! the prevalence of FGC even though it's officially illegal. etc.

Well my internet time is almost out. I hope to post again soon.

love and peace,


Katy said...

Alright,here is my question. I'm probably embarrassing myself if this is some well know thing...Anyways, what is FGC?

Anonymous said...

hey cait,

i hope all is well, u seem to be doin just fine, im not surprised.

thanx on the congrats! yep, i did it.
hunter in the fall.

O,BTW,i just DL skype. litterally.

before i call i need to know the time differance.

love u.


Shayla said...

Cait! Quickly, b/c I know your minutes can run out fast. This reminds me of the little girl in the pink shirt in Ghana. Rememmber her? Isn't it something how something so little can make that much of a difference in a child's life and have such a lasting impact on you? This is the first thing I thought of. Maybe when you're done with PC, you'll do something similar to what we did at Skidmore for the Ghanaian children. Sounds like you're doing awesome though with fitting in and making your mark whether you realize it or not. Hey, if a banana can make that much of a difference...