Monday, August 23, 2010

News from Senegal

Hey everybody!

Sorry I haven't updated this more religiously but I guess that is expected in a developing country with not the same internet access as the US. But regardless so much has happened since coming to Senegal so I better jump right in!

So I've been in Senegal for around 12 days. The first 8 days I was in Thies at the Peace Corps training center. It is actually really cool. It is part of the old french military barracks. My time mostly consisted of medical (shots :( ) and technical training which consisted of classes on different projects and ag strategies that they are using or pushing in Senegal. Additionally they have a interview process to get a better feel of where you would be best fit. Like a lot of my peace corps adventure this has been the most frustrating part: not knowing. So most of my time has been centered around thinking about where I'm going and what I'll be doing (and of course what my situation will be like).

Luckily, I found out my assignment. We actually don't find out till September 8th (and I could potentially be switched) but the PCV (peace corps volunteer) I am suppose to replace is leaving her assignment early to start grad school. You can leave the PC up to 2 months early to start grad school or a substantial career. So anyway she tracked me down to tell me so she could pass me some advice about the area and projects she had started. To be honest we haven't gone into too many details and am hopefully suppose to meet up with her this weekend. So I'll be in a village just outside Kaolack (about a 10mins. bus ride she said once you get to the main road which is about a 5k bike ride). The village is called Bane. The PCV before me, Natalie, was a agroforestry volunteer which is really exciting because a lot of agforestry is long term type of projects. So all the agforestry projects already have a good start. She said her family is really fun! They are a middle class Senegalese family (which obviously a middle class Pulaar family in rural Senegal is a bit different then the US) and have cows! That is big in a Senegalese Pulaar family and Natalie said she has milk everyday. So basically it is sooooooo nice to know where I am going. Can't wait to talk to Natalie and get a lot more details. So many questions!

So because I am going to a Pulaar village I am learning Pulaar at my homestay now. Pulaar de Nord to be exact. I'm in a local village just south of Dakar called Nguekhokh. It is about 8k from the coast and am hoping to go there this week! My family is amazing! My Senegalese is Amadou Ly and my babam (Senegalese father) is Mamadou Samba Ly. Really loved my name until my little sister Fatamata pointed to the baby goat and then to me while saying "Amadou" which I roughly translated into the fact that I was named after the goat. Nice. My family is HUGE! There is due to the fact that my father has three wives. It is interesting to say the least but I love the opportunity to live/get a first person perspective of a polygamist family. It is a really strong family bond that is awesome and extremely inviting. I'm currently back at the training center in Thies until Wednesday but really can't wait to get back! It is tiring though with basically the entire day being a language class trying to communicate with them and practicing my Pulaar in between classes. It is extremely helpful. I am by no means good but what would of taken a month in a language class I did in a week. It is literally a 12 hrs language class everyday. I couldn't escape Pulaar even if I wanted to. That and if I tried my little sisters and brothers would run me down and quiz me again (we have moved on to high numbers and asking how to get around).

That is about for now. I have one more rabbis shot before I am done with my medical. I'm going back to my homestay for 2 weeks this time. Then i come back to the training center and everyone finds out their placement and then go on visits to their sites as long as it is in relative distance from Thies (i believe). Though I got my assignment unofficially already I did talk to some of the PCV's whom said there are still some positions that haven't been decided yet. This is mostly in the Woloof community as there is a lot of positions that require that. There are only 5 of us learning Pulaar du Nord. So we all have placements already because there is only so many positions that require Pulaar du Nord as is similar with other minority languages in Senegal.

That is all for now. If anyone wants to give me a call it is about $0.26 a minute through skype and free for me to receive.


  1. Liked your post a lot Brian. Try to keep up with it as I doubt law school time and your time will allow me to skype much. Very nice to read.


  2. Bri sounds awesome!! keep the posts coming, can't wait to hear more about your adventures!


  3. Hi Brian! This is K. Sass. The pic probably tipped you off ;) Anyway, I am happy you started a blog! How great you got to meet your family, and hilarious they named you after the goat. It will be interesting to hear how your views change of do not change about polygamy, after living with a polygamist family.

    Have a great time getting to know your family, PCV placement, and Pulaar!

    All the best!

  4. I cannot wait to hear more from you budyy.

  5. Brian your adventures sound so exciting! I can't wait to hear more about them and your time in Senegal! Do you have a skype name?