Saturday, March 10, 2012

We arrived!

We arrived in Dakar, Senegal Tuesday morning, came to the Peace Corps training center in Thies (pronounced "Ches") (I didn't know) directly and have been here since. The weather is warm and lovely, the bats are impressively large and awesome and the food here at the training center is excellent - I think we are being spoiled. The other Senegal and Gambia trainees are all really nice and smart and interesting. Basically, we have been busy going to training sessions and socializing rampantly.

Today we went on a walk in the market with one of the seasoned Senegal Peace Corps volunteers. It was a bit scary for me, because I no idea what anyone was saying (I now know almost as much Wolof as I know French, which is to say next to nothing). It is really humbling to not know the language, the local currency or how to get anywhere.  Also I was scared of being run down by the traffic, which consists of dilapidated automobiles, a few really nice automobiles, many carts drawn by skinny horses and some motorbikes/scooters. I am trying to have faith that I will learn a lot and become more comfortable someday. In the meantime, I plan to only venture out in a group that includes at least one decent French speaker.

We begin learning our languages and living with a host family in a few days. I am really nervous for that, but also excited. I think Darrin and I will be learning Mandinka, which is very common in the Gambia (we will go there permanently after another 4 weeks or so). We'll find out for sure in the next few days.

I didn't take this picture, but it shows a street in Thies, so I am including it. Someday I will take pictures and figure out how to upload them...

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