Thursday, November 24, 2011


Ohh the joys of Senegalese transportation. Here is the first installation of my series of Senegalese topics. So the main form of transportation are big bus like things which Peace Corps Volunteers call alhums due to the fact that it says alhamdoulilah (thanks be to God) on the front of all of them. These buses are rickety old van-like things with barely there seat cushions. You hoist yourself up in the back to the entrance about 3 foot off the ground and squeeze into a seat. Hopefully you get in a row lacking cheb mamas (cheb is a rice dish and cheb mamas refer to the size of some of the women who have apparently ate a little too much of it).They squeeze (and I do mean squeeze) 5 people into a row. If you get claustrophobic or like personal space, you will not do well in Senegal. They wait at the garage until completely full and then set off. These vehicles tend to stop every 10 minutes on the way to your destination to let people on and off. They will also be loading bags of rice, onions,  chickens, goats, and even cows on top of the alhum.This is the 2nd cheapest way of traveling.
      Another way to get around is via sept-place. Sept-place obviously means a car for 7 passengers for those of you who speak French. One person sits up front next to the driver and three people sit in the next 2 rows. This vehicle is like an old rusty station wagon only more poorly made. If you are lucky you will get in one of the first two rows, but more likely than not, the last row will be your designated seat. The ceiling in this vehicle slants so in the back row your head touches the roof (keep in mind, i'm not that tall). Also many times, this seat is also tipped back in a position that might be comfortable, if there was a headrest. But if there is no baggage behind you to lay your head against, your head just kind of hangs at a awkward angle making sleep impossible for the duration of the ride. In the middle of the back seat there is also a hump in the floor to make you scrunch up even more. Basically imagine curling yourself into a small ball and sitting that way for 3 hours to the capital or even up to 10 or more hours to go down south. This is one of the more expensive forms.
    For some random lucky people, nice tour buses are available to those traveling longer trips. I am not one of those people and so I will not be expounding on the gloriousness of these vehicles.
   In the cities, most transportation is done in taxis. These are not your typical taxis like in America. Picture old broke down cars, most of which have nonfunctioning door handles and windows. They usually look like the just came from a demolition derby and you're never sure you'll make it where you're going.
    Another common form of transportation are motos. These are both fun and dangerous. Far from being cheap, sometimes they are the only form of transportation to get back to site. Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to ride on them as they often fall over due to the deep sand and poor quality of driving and accidents are common. But you gotta do what you gotta do and when its your only option, sometimes PCVs have taken them.
     Peace Corps provides each volunteer with a bike. All I have to say about that was, the few times I tried to ride so far, the sand was so deep that the bike got stuck and fell over. And walking works fine, but when you want to go more than 5 miles its not so good.
     Finally, the most common source of transportation in the village is a charrette (horse and cart). This can be quite interesting as well. The cart is just a flat platform. Sometimes its stacked with sacks of peanuts two layers high and then people sit on top of that with chickens, goats, sacks of millet, and whatever else next to them. If you ride with the right driver its not a problem, but if you get a driver who can't, hold on tight.
     For me to get to my regional capital I usually can get an alhum to come and pick me up at 5:40am and take me on into Kaolack. Otherwise I have to get a charrette or walk to my road town 5.6 miles away and then get an alhum or sept-place into Kaolack from there. Usually you end up sitting in the garage for 2-3 hours waiting for an alhum to leave and about an hour for a sept-place. So next time you drive yourself around, appreciate the convenience and think of me.
Sorry its been so long since I've written but between going to America at one point and then getting resettled back at site it hasn't felt like the time. I will give it a go though now and hopefully will begin a series of blogs about random topics in Senegal today or soon.
First of all I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all out there. Don't worry I will be eating turkey and stuffing my face with, well, stuffing on one of the greatest of American holidays. For now though, I am foregoing the craziness of the Kaolack house in order to write this update which is looking like it might become quite lengthy. 
        I've been back at site now for about 2 months. My family is amazing and I couldn't be luckier in how great they are. The kids are always running errands for me or helping me without me even having to ask. My mom is always offering to do laundry for me. They even still try and carry water for me even though I've been doing it myself for a long time now.
      Work at site is still rough though I do have a few projects in the works. There are about 7 villages near mine that speak Pulaar. I have been going around to each of these villages and talking about the possibility of doing a latrine project in each of them before I go home. Heads up, I might be doing some fundraising for this in the near future. Diarrheal illnesses are one of the most common causes of death in this country and the use of proper latrines can help to reduce those numbers. Currently most villages defecate out in the fields and don't use proper handwashing techniques. A theater group will also be used to emphasize these points. With the installation of latrines, this project will include trainings in proper sanitation techniques and the importance of using latrines. This project could make a huge impact. I am currently working on getting latrines in my village and a nearby village but this future project would cover lots of villages.
      Another project I'm working on is a health tournee in these same villages. Potentially two people from each of these villages will meet in my village and be trained about a health topic. These people will then hold a training in their village. I am hoping that this greatly spreads the knowledge of proper health practices and decreases the early deaths of so many people. An huge number of infants die in this country and who knows about miscarriages and such.
     I also have a personal garden that I work in. So far my eggplant is producing. But hopefully by next week I will have some sweet corn and okra ready. I also have tomatoes, squash, and hot pepper planted. Soon I will be putting in cantaloupe, watermelon, green beans, more tomatoes, onions, sweet potato, more sweet corn and okra, and whatever else I think of. The only problem is that my small garden already requires 8-10 buckets of water and so this increase will give me a nice long workout everyday. Its wonderful to have so many vegetables though.
    Well Happy Thanksgiving and haa booya (see ya later)!
    Noos e jam! (Party in peace)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gardens, Gardens, and let me think.....Gardens!!!

Okay here goes an update. I will have hit the 8 month in country mark in 2 days and can't believe it. Time flies so fast, especially now that I've been so busy. The second week of January I started a women's garden in my village. Its been a both a blessing and a curse as is any project with about 20-25 women. The garden is about 20m x 30m and includes cucumbers, okra, lettuce, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, a little hot pepper, and bitter tomato. The lettuce is already sold out and we've been selling okra and cucumbers for a few weeks now. Now if only the bugs and the weeds would go away, the garden would be perfect. Inshallah (God willing) the women will begin to use the natural pesticides I've been encouraging for months (free and are not bad for your health) and the bugs will trot off on their merry little way. Lets just say watering the garden Senegalese style is much more difficult than turning on a hose. The well is 22 meters deep making it quite a tedious chore to pull water. The buckets we use to carry water on our heads hold about 25 liters of water (approximately 6.6 gallons). Lets just say after about an hour and a half of carrying these buckets on your head (approx. 30-40 buckets per woman helping) the watering is complete. The hot dry season is beginning (i'm not sure it ever left as its always hot, hot, hot!!!) and with it means the ground sucks up water like a Muslim during Ramadan for break fast. (For those of you who don't understand this, during Ramadan, Muslims fast sunrise to sunset of all food and water for an entire month.)

Just as I did in college, I want to make sure I don't run out of things to do, so I caved to the pleas of a neighboring village 2km away and am helping them as well with a second women's garden. Lets just say by the time the hot seasons over, we might have something growing. The women in this village often don't show up after I make the 30-40 minute walk there to teach/help them. I gotta say it is hard for them though as they have 9 million kids, and sometimes they are on breakfast duty so they are cooking when i show up, and then theres a baptism, wedding, or funeral about every other day around here. Them not coming combined with them not understanding or listening to much of what I say is making gardening very difficult. Also, chicken managed to eat all but one small pepiniere of tomatoes and lettuce. The women decided to transplant and redo pepinieres in a new location. When the had the fence "ready" we dug and transplanted. The next day when I arrived goats had eaten everything we transplanted. So, at this time the garden amounts to about 20-30 plants and the women still have no idea what I am teaching them. Hopefully it improves with time.

If I thought I was going to have any chance of free time, it vanished when I started a 3rd garden. These women live in the same village as the second garden and are not involved in that garden because they refused to show up when they were called. Sound like a recipe for success to you???? But, one of the women were named after my dad's mother in village and so of course he sided with them and a 3rd garden was born. (The funny part is, my dad keeps saying I'm working too hard and I need to rest more. I wonder how resting and walking 2km to help with the gardens about 4 times a week adds up to resting???) These women at least are determined and they do show up and are learning more quickly it seems than either of the other two gardens. The only problem is that if they had their say, I would show up 2 times a day every day. (Sick or healthy, busy or not!!!) I'm curious how they would hold up in my position. An hour and a half of walking 4 times or so a week is not exactly something any Senegalese person would take up.

For those of you who may think I'm just off vacationing in Senegal, don't worry, I'm not running out of projects yet. I had a meeting with my village and am going to be starting trees for 3 live fences, 4 windbreaks, and trees for erosion control. I am also hoping to get a mango and cashew formation in my village inshallah. Oh and I can't forget about the latrine project I'm beginning or the business lessons I hope to have with the women in the village. If I get to bored, I've got a few health projects on the back burner as well.

Sorry if this comes out a little bitter or as a little bit whiny. I really am happy here and enjoy what I'm doing. Dealing with people in any culture has its pluses and minuses, frustrations and joys. Cultural differences, language troubles, and human nature itself tend to cause a hard situation to become a little bid harder. But as another wise Peace Corps volunteer advised me, we didn't come here as an easy way out. Being a Peace Corps volunteer is anything but easy, but it is a chance to develop and to grow and to change. Its an opportunity to see the world in a different light and expand your worldview. I've also heard a quote about Peace Corps being the worst job we'll ever love. And, when you are walking home frustrated because goats finished off your garden and see about 10 monkeys jump out of a tree and run off less than 1km from your site, your day gets a little better. Or when you are tired of people yelling at you and calling you toubab instead of greeting you and using your name, you might give them a little lecture that has your Senegalese friends rolling they are laughing so hard and you will undoubtably join in. (By lecture I mean I said, the word toubab is bad, my name is Yumma, and if you call me toubab I'll hit you till you die.) (P.S. Only in Senegal do they say I'll hit you till you die or I'll hit you till you poop a threat for constant use.) Or when you get so frustrated with the people not listening, you start yelling in Pulaar and saying your leaving to the result of the women laughing, saying you really do understand your language, and occasionally finally listening to the point you were making. Their are little blessings hid in everything.

Oh and I now have a new friend in village. His name is Sidibe and he's never mad at me, his only desire to increase my work load is to spend a little time with him, he listens to me complain, and he is learning both pulaar and english. I am his favorite person in the world, he chases off goats, licks my wounds, and loves me unconditionally. He also had four legs, a waggly tail, and an aversion to goats, donkeys, or any other four legged animal. He's an adorable little dog.

I'm thinking Gary Allan made a great point in his song "Songs about Rain." I accidently only put 102 songs on my mp3 player and that was one of them. So for the last two weeks, I was going crazy listening to the same songs over and over and over. When that song, "I Love A Rainy Night", and "Like The Rain" keep coming on and I know I won't see rain until the beginning of July its a little depressing. It hasn't rained in my village since I arrived in October.

Oh and good news!!! Med arrived at the Kaolack house today and so I will now be taking a whole pharmacies worth of drugs. I'm taking Erythromycin for my gazillion cuts that are all infected, Fasizyne for giardia, and Intetrix for amoebas. Any bacteria or parasites in my body are going to be screaming for mercy. After this I should be healthy as a horse. Although with the amount of tree sacks and baggage in general i'm taking back to site tomorrow, I will probably be dreaming of chiropractors.

Well thats all for now! Tomorrow I'm back off to the grindstone.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ko mi suka! Ko mi nayeejo!

Hello strangers. I am going to use my first blog in about 3 months to explain a little about my day to day life. In this explanation there will be very little description of my daily activities. So what, you may ask, am I to say. Every day (maybe this is exaggerating a little) I am asked why I am not married when in villages near me girls marry at age 15. Therefore I have passed the date by 7 years. My response is always "Ko mi suka" which translates to I am still a kid. I figure if I play soccer with the kids enough, join in the kids dance parties, and act anything but my age it will help. But no! These days, as a worn out Peace Corps volunteer my tune hasNchanged a little. My new excuse to getting out of things is "Ko mi nayeejo" or I am old. Why the change in opinion you may ask? I was pondering this very question as I walked the 2km walk to my 3rd garden for the 4th time in a week. Sorry if this comes out as a complaint but it seems to me to be more of a normality of life for those of us overseas deal with daily. Picture the human body. Start from the head and move down.

*Head- headache daily from trying and failing to effectively communicate a single point you were trying to make in the local language as well as the stresses of every day life.
*Nose- Allergies off and on due to the dust and sand everywhere!!!
*Neck-Lets just say carrying 30-40 10lbs buckets of water on your head in order to help water the womens garden twice a day is not a great friend to your spine.
*Elbows and wrists- If you are denied the joyful opportunity of carrying water on your head, you will be wielding a watering can for approximately 1 and 1/2 hours twice a day. A watering can doesn't seem that heavy but you might change your mind after watering for that long.
*Back-In addition to the water carrying, the bed you sleep on at night is a 5 inch foam mattress laid on a cement floor or a cot. Not very accomodating to a tired and weary body.
*Stomach-Lets just say us PCV's are known to have giardia here and amoebas there. I don't think my digestive system has been right for a solid two weeks since I've been here. This leads to the fun symptoms of bloating, stomach cramps, and oh so lovely diarrhea.
*Thighs-Well in the case of a giardia episode you may be squatting over a latrine hole many times a day. Lets just say for those of you unexperienced in squatting over a latrine hole, it only takes so long before your legs ache.
*Feet-Lets just say my feet happen to look like they went through a meat grinder most of the time. We all know my family is accident prone and now all of my village knows it as well. They report to me daily about new cuts or scrapes I have managed to acquire. I have more sores on my feet, ankles, and calves than I do toes on my feet. I do wear shoes but flip flops are not very accomodating to keeping out thorns, corn stalks, and every vicious article laying in my path. Oh and if they healed it would be a different story, but the tend to become infected and hold on for dear life. Maybe I will become the worlds leading doctor in foot infections when I finish my service. Added to this is the fact that I have a tendency to take a lengthy walk nearly every day. If I'm not seed collecting far out in the middle of nowhere, I am walking to the other village to work on the garden.

I don't know about you, but I think this might have a little to do with my newfounded opinion that I am no longer a kid, but that my age is nearer 80 now than 8. For those of you who do have more years than me and suffer from aches and pains, I apologize. It just amazes me that the things that would make many people call into school or work sick tend to be a fact of daily life. I am not asking you to feel sorry for me, it really isn't that bad. But if you send a package, bandaids, bandaids, and more bandaids would be a lifesend.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Three Months At Site

Apparently the sensation of time flying past is not unique to America. I cannot believe I've already been at site for 2 and a half months and not yet blogged about it. In my defense, there were a few technical difficulties and my computer was sent to America. I guess late is better than never so here goes.

My permanent site is Paymar Hamady located in the Peanut Basin of Senegal (just above Gambia). My village has a about 200 people and is about 9km from the main road and a town big enough for a market. I live in the chiefs compound but my designated father in the community is in another compound. As a result I have not just one but two families. There is only about 7 families in the entire village. Having two families is fun but also troublesome at times. This leads to two breakfasts, dinners, and suppers. Also having 6 moms (as well as a few neighboring women) telling you to eat more can be a trial. Its fun having lots of kids around. My dad has 3 wives and 15 kids. I always wanted brothers and so its fun. Especially because they immediately took on the brotherly role and my older brother is always worrying that I'm not eating enough. Oh and our town is interrelated with a town half way between my village and the road town. So they have become really protective of me too. I was walking home one day and they made me rest there for about 5 hours and fed me and made me bathe before I could leave. When I finally did leave, one of them walked me the rest of the way home (about 4km!).
Anybody see a theme here. The food here is good. I LOVE millet and leaf sauce and it is the most nutritional thing in Africa so it works out. We eat millet with some sort of sauce (usually leaf sauce or peanut sauce) for breakfast and supper. For dinner (yes dinner is the meal at noon not lunch for all you cityfolk), we have rice and some sort of sauce. Being a Pulaar village, there are lots of cows meaning fresh milk morning and night. Millet and milk is delicious which is good because I eat it 3-4 times a day. Living in the peanut basin means lots and lots and lots of peanuts. I've been helping with peanut harvest and people keep giving me bowls full of peanuts in return. Every bowl, bucket, and sack in my huts is currently full of peanuts. Good thing peanut season is now over.

As far as life and recreation in the village, most of the time I read or sit around and talk (more like listen and space out) with my family. My language skills are still rough but I can usually get my point across. Understanding the locals is another story. I like to play with the kids a lot when I haven't been in the fields. The big sport here is soccer so we'll kick around a ball made of rags or a small watermelon or whatever round thing we find. Lately, the boys have been into wrestling each other. Its so fun to watch the little kids wrestle, but just like in America, the parents aren't always so approving. The music here is definitely a switch from country, but I gotta say I have been involved in a few dance parties in one of my moms huts. I learned how to sing one of their favorite songs, so now it is on high demand. It was really fun when riding on a horse and cart to another town, me and the five women on the cart had a sing-a-long. Oh and I learned I can request private concerts. The young boys in our village will sit on a mat outside some evenings and do call and response singing. Its so fun to listen to. I was really sad I hadn't heard them sing in awhile after Christmas and so my mom got them all to come over that night.

We had training in the middle of December for two weeks. Prior to that, my village would not even let me try and start working on projects. When I returned, they decided they wanted to start a womens garden after I returned from lang. seminar (2 weeks later) and were wanting a well and latrine project. So, work is finally getting underway. I have a few more projects in mind as well, but I'm thinking I can't do everything at once.

I'm really enjoying learning to live without electricity and running water. I think its fun carrying water from the well (now that they actually let me try). I'm not very good though. Somehow they carry these big benuwars of water and don't spill any. I carry a small bucket with a lid on it and come back drenched. I guess I have 2 years to learn though. I also like traveling by horse/donkey and cart. It reminds me of riding with Grandpa when I was little. Oh and its fun having animals everywhere. Baby goats are adorable although pesky. I've already had one infiltrate my hut.

My hut is a one room building with cement walls and a straw roof. I really like it although the frogs that are swarming my hut are ridiculous. I'm excited to finally get a cement pad put in soon so that I can lay my foam pad mattress on it and have a "real bed." Its hilarious to be lying in bed at night and hear horses chewing right outside my fence.

As far as holidays go, I celebrated Thanksgiving with a lot my stage at the regional house. We had a real American thanksgiving dinner. Delicious! For Christmas, I celebrated with a few others at the regional house where we had potato soup for Christmas Eve and macaroni and cheese for the main dishes. I love cheese. They have very little cheese in this country and the stuff they do have is so expensive so macaroni and cheese was A-mazing. In the village, we celebrated the holiday of Tabaski. Its a celebration of Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac so everyone kills and eats a goat for the holiday. The meal is the goat meat with macaroni noodles, potatoes, and onions. Its really good. Everyone gets all dressed up in fancy clothes and eats the amazing food and thats pretty much the holiday. I gotta say its a little awkward when you look at your food and recognize that you are eating a goats kidney but I eating meat in Senegal is a treat so you gotta embrace it. They also celebrate new years here in pretty much the same way.

I just got back from language seminar clear on the other side of the country. Senegal is just on the edge of the Sahara and are fighting the trend of desertification. Well, in the area I was, they are clearly failing. There is no grass, no leaves on the trees, and sand for as far as you can see. I was so far on the other side of the country I literally could have swam across the Senegal River to Mauritania. I was standing on the river bank wishing I had my passport and wasn't banned from being allowed to go. I could also see Mali on the drive out there. It was fun because once you get close to the Volunteer's site I was visiting, they have big hills or small mountains, i'm not exactly sure which. One night we climbed the mountain and did a little star gazing.

Well I think this blog is long enough and thats all I can think of anyways. Congratulations if you actually read that much of my ramblings. I hope your holidays were merry and I hope your new year is blessed.

Yumma Diop (aka Rosanne)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So long Nguekhokh, hello Paymar

No I have not fallen off a cliff, eaten by lions, or married eighteen Senegalese men. I have received many comments on how the frequency of my blogs is too long. For this I apologize, but I do want to emphasize that I am in Africa and will not have electricity or running water in my hut for the next 2 years so the blogging may not occur as much as desired. So now for an overview of all the things that have happened since I last put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard.
The first big event was counterpart workshop. This was a 2 day marathon of meetings and introduction to the counterpart(s) with whom we will work for the next 2 years. My first counterpart that came was my host family dad. I had not yet been to my village or met anyone from there so meeting my dad was great. I found out once again that my village is the land of milk and well...milk. Maybe I should do beekeeping as a secondary project (milk and honey?). My dad has 3 wives and about 10 sons and 5 daughters. I say about because its easy to forget one or two when you list off names and count as you go. So I will be going from one sister in America to a house full of 15 siblings, most of which will be brothers. We could start our own football team with a family that size. I also found out that the well from which I will be carrying water is a nice distance from my hut. Hello morning workout. I will be an expert at carrying buckets of water on my head by the end of the two years.
Also during homestay, I had the opportunity to explore numerous beaches along the Senegalese coast. We also had a beach weekend where all of us packed (or crammed rather) into 2 Alhams and headed to Popenguine. We rented 2 gorgeous beach houses for the night. For never swimming in an ocean before I hit Senegal, I sure logged a lot of hours in the ocean here. We got to jump off a huge rock (or rather small cliff) into the ocean. Amazing! I also tried to learn to bodysurf. I have officially decided that bodysurfing is kind of like being assaulted by the ocean. I never really got the hang of it real well so I drank about half the ocean each time and ended up with a few pretty good scratches. But it was great fun!
One of my fellow Nguekhokh volunteers had a host sister graduating and getting a teaching certificate. We were all invited. What we had not yet realized is that we really are celebrities. We were put in the front seats and the griot (an important community member) kept desiring us to dance. A crowd full of Senegalese people but it was the toubabs who were needed to get the party started. So about the end of the night, the head of the school asks our class to speak a little Pulaar in the microphone. So we stated our names and thanked the town and the mayor. So in America we could then head back to our seats, but no, we were required to dance in front of a crowd of about 200 people including the mayor. Not cool! Lets just say, even if we get nothing done in our two years of service, our villages will probably enjoy having us just for the entertainment factor.
Last week we finished homestay. I was really sad to leave my family and the host family's of the other volunteers. They were so helpful and really cared about us and took care of us. My family gave me some fabric to make an outfit and a headscarf. I can't wait to go back and visit and see my little sister who will probably be walking by then.
I guess I should add in here that I passed my language and technical training. Pulaar is pretty tough but its getting better. Now if I just new a little French or Wolof so I could talk to the majority of the country we would be doing swimmingly.
Friday, my fellow trainees and I swore in as official Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV's). We went to a big ceremony at the US Ambassador's house which was taped and aired on TV. Oh and the best part, we had a police escort from Thies to the Ambassador's house in Dakar. It was like we were royalty. They even let us drive on the wrong side of the road half the way there. It was great fun. After the ceremony, the Ambassador served us wonderful Senegalese style American food. I've never been so excited to see brownies.
Currently, I am sitting in the regional house in Kaolack waiting for installation into my village on Thursday. We've been shopping all week for all the little (well some of its little) homey touches that we will need once we get to our sites. Best of all, we've had a little R&R which was much needed after the end of training. Lets just say the last few nights at the training center we got little sleep. After all, we won't see each all our fellow stagemates until December for IST (in-service training).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And the Destination of your Two Year Stay IS......

As of several days ago, I am now officially the PC trainee selected to inhabit the small village of Paymar Hamady. And my small village I mean about the size of Meadow Grove. haha. My village is in the Kaolack region of Senegal which is about central and is located just north of the Gambia. Guess where I'm heading on vacation? Kaolack is supposably home to more small wildlife than other regions. Pumbaa and Timon anyone? It's also known as the Peanut Basin. My village is a new site for Peace Corps so the townsfolk are constructing me a brand new hut for me to spend my next 2 years. The village has about 200 people with an overwhelming majority (all of them) speaking Pulaar du Nord. This comes in handy because, well, that's the language I'm learning.

P.S. Ramadan is over. Woohoo. No more fasting (for those who actually fasted, me not included). Korite was quite the event. Full of splendor and the spreading of kaalis (money) and good cheer. So basically, everyone gets all gussied up in their bestest Senegalese outfits and parades around eating good food. About like thanksgiving. And in the evening, the children go from house to house where they are given money. Kinda like Halloween only its small change instead of candy. The food was great. I love me some chicken, potatoes, and beef smothered in onion sauce and eaten with bread. A little too much caffeine was consumed though between the tea and the Coke and Fanta and such I was offered. Apparently that should be the all-nighter special. I will have to remember that if I go back to school. I gotta say though, Methloquin sure makes sleep more fun. Sleep is so much more entertaining when under the control of malaria meds.

Well thats all for now, tomorrow we are off to visit the regions where we will be spending the bulk of our two years and getting to know the volunteers near us hopefully. Catch ya on the flip flop.