Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Settling In

Three weeks at site!
That is a landmark. And it’s amazing how different I feel now that I’m settling into a routine. Just over the past few days I have realized how much I have accomplished already in such a short amount of time. My pulaar is getting better, I am learning my way around my town, I have totally adjusted to the heat (this morning I was FREEZING cold and shivering under my sheet and it was 82 degrees!!), I am making friends, I recognize people, I am meeting important point people, my French is already back up near fluency (a wonderful surprise), I am networking and have been offered help by the mayor’s office to organize a huge meeting with the 40 presidents of social group/development/community organizations in town (and they’ve offered to arrange it just so that I can meet everyone. Here is hoping they all come), I now only need a half a bucket of water to shower with, I am learning to cook Senegalese dishes…and the list goes on.

Point is, I have always had a 2 week rule—that you have to give any new transition (college, study abroad programs, a new job, etc at least two weeks) and here I figured it would take at least 3 until I felt the same way…and I was right. 3 weeks and I have renewed energy and am confident that I am making progress and most importantly, I’m starting to feel at home.

I think part of this new comfort is due to the fact that I have been busy, but also that I have made a friend! A real Senegalese male friend (practically unheard of). This is incredibly difficult to do. He is an English teacher at the middle school and we spent a wonderful day recently. I ran into him randomly and he invited me for lunch and he and I and the other 3 teachers he boards with spent the day speaking about development in Senegal and the problems of corruption and laziness, and lack of education, and work ethic, and the desert and how hard life is up north compared to where they are all from and it was so beneficial to hear encouragement from Senegalese. They are the first people to acknowledge how hard it is what we PCVs are doing, and to thank me. To really thank me for being here and commending my efforts. We ate, drank tea, and watched a movie. Totally normally and there was not a single inappropriate comment about marriage, or taking them to the states or any of that. Just lots of laughter and stimulating conversations about life in Senegal.

I am comforted that I can find friends, and that yes, it IS hard, but it really does just take time to find one’s niche. I think that I am on my way. At least it feels good to start making connections.

Time is on my side…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad it's starting to feel "normal" for you!!! You're right, mew jobs are always tough. And though I'm sure you'll hit some rough spots, it sounds like you're good to go. Something I have to constantly remind myself in a new situation...walk with confidence!