Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday we did a Cultural Fair for most of the day. We broke up into groups and went to stations to learn about different aspects of Senegalese culture. At one station where we discussed traditional clothing and greetings I learned that some men, out of respect for their wife, will not shake hands with any other woman. Also, during a greeting, a younger person is not supposed to look an older person in the eyes. The traditional garb is very colorful and loose-fitting. I'm actually looking forward to having my own grand boubou made.

Saturday my group, Agroforestry, learned how to double-dig and start a garden bed with materials found easily around the area. We were also fitted for the bikes we will be using during our service. I received one of the better equipped bikes, which likely means that I will be stationed somewhere far from a city...only speculation though.

Today we learned what local language we were to learn and what village we will live in the next 9 weeks in during our homestay period. I will be going to a village on the Atlantic where I will live with a Pulaar (Fulakunda)-speaking family. We also had two 1.5 hour language class sessions during which I learned the alphabet and some survival phrases. Everything was going pretty well until we got to phrases with words that my mouth just doesn't pronounce - seriously look it up. Fortunately I was able push through and end up pretty well. This evening we finally went into Thies and walked around. We stopped at a couple of stands to pick up a few things only to finally ended up at a bar in the heart of Thies. Walking around we clearly stood out to the locals as the only foreigners on the block. Many vendors called us over or stopped us to try to sell us something at a premium rate. Nobody really gave us any trouble, so all in all it was a good experience.

Tomorrow we head to our homestay village in the afternoon and spend the next week in an intensive language study and immersion experience. I'm excited, but nervous to be with a group of people I don't know and can't understand....wish me luck!


  1. Hey Curtis! Looks like you made it to Senegal in one piece :) Looking forward to hearing more! Be safe.

  2. Hey Curtis..I love this blog...Thursday, I too am heading into a place with different customs than mine....Lake Bluff/Lake Forest.
    Peace, John
    (in the world of "DANCE"..merde, is "GOOD LUCK."}

  3. Hey Curtis - Atlantic Ocean area - very cool. I am very excited for you. Perhaps you can do some fishing in your spare time if you are not too far. Let us know if you can find an internet/Skype cafe anywhere nearby !

  4. Hi Curtis, I was instructed by your mom, yes, your mom, on how to get connected to this following. So this is my test comment.

  5. I love that your mom is figuring this blog out. She misses you so much- I called her the other day and she was bawling and then thankfully you seemed to know that and called her right after we hung up! :) I spoke to her after the two of you hung up and she was beaming through the phone.
    So proud of you, Curtis!
    Love you,