Monday, March 17, 2008

ONE YEAR IN COUNTRY!!

1 YEAR!!

I have officially been in Senegal for one year! Woo hoo! I made it! I can’t believe it. The time has absolutely flown by. And I know everyone always says that, but I really do feel like Ramadan was just yesterday. All outgoing PCVs always say that the first year is the most difficult and after you get over the 1 year slump, everything just falls into place, and your work, language, friends, and contacts just take off.

I’ve used this landmark as an opportunity to go back and read up on my blog entries from my first months at site. How far I’ve come! I’ve learned so much. I think the thing that’s especially surprising to me is how much better I can tolerate everything! That and how much more articulate I used to be. My English writing truly has suffered.

While most of the stuff I complained about before still exists, it just doesn’t affect me anymore. I highly recommend that you all go back and read some too. They might entertain you. One thing that worries me a bit though is how sort of sarcastic and jaded I feel I sound sometimes. The idealism and enthusiasm practically pours out of my entries from my Community Entry Period. Though I’m still able to maintain some of that, I definitely notice a prevalence of sarcasm and underlying bitterness in some of my entries. The mood swings have certainly lessoned though (see June 2007 entry “Living in a World of Mood Swings”) which is something I hadn’t realized until now. I also laugh a lot more when I used to just get angry.

I hope that this week I’ll get a chance to write a “reflection” entry about my experience during the past year, but for now, here is my 1-year index for your entertainment:

# of days in Senegal: 365
# of days since I’ve seen my parents: 368 (because of the 3 day orientation in DC)
# of months at site: 10
# of current different ongoing work projects: 5
# of packages received: ~25 (amazing…keep ‘em coming! I feel so loved.)
# of known packages currently in the mail: 2
max # of weeks its ever taken for a package to arrive: 8
# of visitors: 1 (with another one on her way in less than 2 weeks! I can’t wait to see you Amandita!)
# of PCVs from my group who have ETd (Early Terminated): Still 6 (though 1 more soon. Good luck at Johns Hopkins Jamie!!)
# of PCVs still left in our group: 37
# of COSing PCVs from my region: 9 (I am going to miss them all desperately)
# of new PCVs coming to our region: 7 (We can’t wait to meet all of you!)
# of times per day I think about what I’m going to do post PC: ~3
# of degrees in my room right now: 107 F (and I’m barely even sweating)
# of scorpions found and destroyed in my hut: 12
# of rotting lizard corpses stuck to the rafters of my hut: 1
# of times I’ve refilled my tiny gas stove: 1
# of times I’ve had to burn my trash: 5
# of buckets of water I use per day (if it’s not hair-washing day): 1
# of times I’ve had to change my light bulb: 0
àMy carbon footprint is like zero!!
# of babies delivered: 1
# of PCV medical emergencies attended: 1
maximum # of rams seen tied to the roof of a station wagon: 7
# of pairs of flip-flops I’ve worn through: 3
Highest # of degrees I’ve seen on my thermometer: 137 F (I swear. This year I’m taking a picture as proof cuz no one believes me)
Lowest # of degrees I’ve seen on my thermometer: 63 F (early morning during the cool season)
# of holes in my mosquito net: 1 (it’s held up amazingly well)
maximum number of mosquito bites on my body at 1 time: 123 (I counted)
# of baptisms attended not including my own: 1 (never again. Totally overwhelming.)
# of sisters married and dropped out of school at age 17: 1 (my favorite one)
Average # of marriage proposals per week: ~3 (they’ve FINALLY slowed down).
# of family members I pretty much don’t speak to ever: 1 (my older brother. More on that soon).
# of times people have stolen cell phone credit from my phone: 2
# of schools I’m currently teaching at: 3 (primary, secondary, and preschool)
# of women’s groups: 2
# of pounds lost: ~15
# of PCVs from my region who have had malaria: 1
# of PCVs from my region who have been exposed to Tuberculosis:1
# of PCVs I know of who have married Senegalese during their service: 2
# PCV friends (that I know of) whose families have come to visit them in country: 14
# of times I’ve left the country: 1
# of months until I come home to AMERICA for a vacation: 4
# of times per week I wash my hair: 2
# of times I’ve henna’d my hands and feet: 1
# of times I’ve let my sisters braid my hair: 0
# of times per week I see other PCVs/speak English: ~1
# of times per week I get to the internet: ~1
# of text messages sent: 4,071 (so that’s where all my spending money goes…)
# of text messages received: 2579 (that ratio is kind of sad).
# of times I’ve been sick with stomach issues and fever: 4 (all pretty mild)
# of times I’ve made myself sick at the regional house from eating “American” food: Almost every time I’m there.
# of books read in country: 14 (I really thought I’d be reading a lot more. I’m glad I’m too busy to be).
# of solo hut dance parties I throw for myself per week: ~2
# of tubes of anti-fungal foot cream I’ve gone through: 1
# of Senegalese outfits I currently own: 5
# of times per month I have to scrub massive calluses off my feet: 2
# of hours I spend awake at night per week: 4-7
# of goats currently staring at me from outside my screen door: 1
# of times I’ve accidentally cleaned out my water filter with too much soap and made the water taste like rotten eggs for months afterwards: 1
# of times I’ve seriously thought about ETing: 5 (though barring all medical and family emergencies I know I won’t)
# of times I’ve nearly wretched at the thought of eating another bite of oily rice: ~20
# of other PCV’s sites visited: 6
# of friends from home who have gotten married or engaged or pregnant: 6 (Just in the past year!!)
average # of flies I have flying around my room at any given time: 6
Litters of kittens my family’s cat has had: 2
Litters of kittens my family’s cat has EATEN: 1
# of times per day I’m called toubak if I’m just walking around my town: ~2
# of cockroaches I’ve seen in my douche or hut: 0 (amazing!)
# of blog entries written: 103 (including this one).
maximum # of children I’ve ever had studying in my room at once: 5
# of liters of water per day I drank during the cold season: 3
# of GALLONS of water I’m drinking now that it’s the hot season again: 2 (yes, gallons, I’ve retired my liter Nalgene bottle and have taken to carrying around a ½ gallon thermos that keeps water ice cold)
# of times per day I buy a block of ice from my family: 1
# of times per day I’m asked for things by my family: 0-1 (much improved from my first months at site)
# of times per day I’m asked for things by people in town: 2-3 (usually Talibe kids asking for money)
# of hours per day my family’s TV is on: ~8 (barring all power outages)
# of babies in my family that scream and cry every time they see me because I’m white: 1 (luckily she doesn’t live in my house)
That is all for now. I hope you enjoyed my index. 1 YEAR!

1 comment:

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