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!