It seems as though time is passing at three paces. In a way, time is going very slow, sitting in my hut, letting the seconds pass by, knowing a new life in a once familiar world full of long absent stimulations will soon become my new reality. In another way, time is flying, running from person to person in my village, telling them that my time is almost up and discussing with them what they need to do to prepare for the future of their projects, and the arrival of the new volunteer. Then there is that time in between all of that, where you are rushing to sit down with your volunteers friends, seeking roads to start up a new life in America, yet also rushing to please the administration by closing your service properly, which, I must say, is almost more complicated than applying for the Peace Corps in the first place. All in all, I'm being pulled in many directions. I'm starting a transition.
That has been my month of August. It was my last full month in Senegal. I lived a bit of all my lives,, and tried to appreciate all. I will try to make this blog simple. I will talk about what I have been doing to close my service, I will talk about my last waterfall adventure, and I will talk about wrapping up the village work!
In the beginning of August I went on a nature adventure. Four of us gals decided to get together and bike to a waterfall named Ingli, probably the most beautiful waterfall in the whole country, and camp there for the night. I was the only one who had been there before, but it had been two years, and I had taken a completely different route. None of us really knew how to get there. So I called Matt, a volunteer who knows, got directions (left at this fork, right here, ask this village for directions), and off we went!
Here we are just leaving
About three hours in, the girls are certainly wondering if we are there yet. Nope, only half way!
We did the notorious river crossing with our bikes over our heads.
And we crossed the ever unstable wire and bamboo bridge.
When we finally got to the waterfall, it took our breaths away. The water in the pools below the falls was cool and clear perfect to dive into after sweating through your clothes for 6 hours straight.
Then it got dark. Oh yes. We got there kinda late. We enjoyed sitting by the fire. KC played the tune whistle and we all sang. It was lovely.
When it was bedtime, we tucked ourselves up in our tents, and it proceeded to rain hard all night long. We managed to stay kinda of dry. But not really. Here we are … wet and cold in the morning.
We woke up to a waterfall that was much different from the one we saw the previous night. We got to see a real power of water. It was so misty you couldn't see much. The water was so violent there was no way to get closer for a better shot. Could you imagine trying to swim in those waters?
In the morning I went exploring. I found this cool tree. I know this tree from two years ago. You have to climb a cliff to get to it. When you finally climb up to the tree, you have a nice view.
Here is the tree's view to the left
The tree's view to the right.
Here is a flower the tree has recently shed.
And climbed up to the top to get a better view. This was the view.
And we walked right to the source. Here she falls...
Then we biked home. And because of the rise in water, we had to take our bikes over the rope bridge. Yikes!
The trip was exhausting, but definitely worth it.
Time to start closing my service!
After going on the trip to the waterfall, all of the people from my stage (people who came at the same time and are leaving at the same time) were invited to stay at a nice hotel in Dakar where we attended a mandatory informational meeting about closing out our service service. The meeting helped us to reflect on our time here, and give us an idea of the opportunities that will be available to us as returned Peace Corps volunteers. It also introduced us to the complicated process of getting the paper work done that needs to be completed before leaving. Wow. So, the meeting lasted for three days. All of the volunteers who have been going through the same phases of struggles had finally all gotten together again, the first time since pre-service training. It was interesting.
After the meeting was over, we all dispersed. I had a day left to spend in Dakar, so me and a few friends decided to go to the recently finished statue. It's the new statue the celebrates the African Renaissance, according to the sign in front of it. If you look up the statue on any media things, you will find out that the statue is controversial.
Anyway, here is the statue. Of course when having a photo with a statue, you must pose like it.
Yay statue! This is me.
We found some Talibe boys on top who wanted to pose with us,
Then they decided they wanted to do push-ups with Lindsay.
We had a nice view of an area of the city that is in development.
So, the last part of August I got to concentrate on my last tree project. August is prime mango grafting time! Last year we held a grafting seminar in my village with participants who came from several different villages. They were leading mango tree farmers in their villages and the idea was for them to gain knowledge in grafting that they could then spread to other mango enthusiasts in their villages. Well, this year I got to put their teaching skills to the test. Well, two of the people that is. I had Numusara, my wonderful counterpart and best mango man, teach people in my village how to graft mango trees. I also had a man named Woori, who comes from a village named Baraboy, teach his very eager and willing villgers how to graft mangoes. It was all very fun. It took a lot of running around and organizing things, but it all went pretty smoothly, as I had great helpers.
Here are some photos of the grafting seminar in my village
And I just forgot to take pictures of the seminar in Baraboy. It' s a shame. They did a wonderful job.
I kept telling my villagers that the last grafting seminar was my last day of official work. I wanted to leave the last week in my village to talk to people about their upcoming volunteer transition, and to give away my stuff to people who have been kind to me. But that is a story for September. So you will have to wait!
Until next time... my last post for my time in Senegal!
and a picture for the road: petting warthogs in the park :)