Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little America

Agroforestry summmit, All Volunteer Conference take two, and the West African International Softball Tournament brought me out of village (again) and into the bright lights of Dakar for the last week of February. Nestled int he beautiful seaside neighborhood of Mamelles, in the shadows of the Lighthouse Mamelles and the Statue of African Renaissance ( a gift from North Korea and rather Soviet kitsch), the American Embassy Press Security's family hosted six volunteers and myself. And what a treat! Food, lodging, taxis, and just about everything in Dakar feels very expensive on my monthly village allowance.
Thanks to our wonderful host family, we had a comfortable, fantastic stay in Dakar. So comfortable in fact that it felt just like America for a couple of days - Raisin Bran for breakfast, hot showers, electricity, and a washing machine! Not to mention it was President's Day and there was the softball tournament at the American club all weekend... it hardly felt like Senegal with all the American foreign service, volunteers, and ex-pats everywhere.
All dressed up and chilling with the Talibe.
For Peace Corps volunteers, this is an amazing opportunity to meet up with friends who live and work on the opposite side of the country. Needless to say, our commitment to the sport of softball is vague, secondary at best. So PC volunteers sign up for the social league and it turns into more of a competition of witty costumes and general wackiness that we cannot express in village. There were cook outs, parties every night, speaking American English, and swimming in the pool (well, I couldm't really because my costume was an Avator and covered in blue finger paint and glitter). I really forgot that I was in Africa.
As guilty as I felt when I was packing my suitcase to leave village, with my little sisters oh-ing and ah-ing the nice clothes I keep hidden from the dust and fighting to try on the only pair if "claque-claque," aka heels, that I brought to country. It was a very enjoyable week and much needed break from the constant culture shock.

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