26 December 2005

3 month challenge over!

Well, we've completed our "Three Month Challenge," during which we were supposed to remain in and around our sites, and avoid the temptations and amenities of Kombo, the capitol region. So, that successfully completed (aside from the fact that two of us returned to the U.S., and a couple others were too disease ridden to avoid a trip to the PC med center), my group assembled in Kombo for an education meeting and a fortnight of general carousing.

Dare I say that three months of deprivation has not turned us towards a more ascetic lifestyle. While I think we have done fairly well in difficult living and working conditions, we are enjoying the fruits of being in a big town -- electricity, running water, beer, eggs. It is a nice break, but I do miss my village and will certainly be back well before Tobaski (commemorating Ibrahim/Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son Ismael/Isaac), which should fall around January 10.

The three months in Njau were somewhat challenging, although not tremendously so. Everything at school went slowly, as classes were delayed by millet/cous harvest, Ramadan, late teacher postings (all coordinated by the central government), tardy teacher arrivals, and groundnut/peanut harvest.

So I didn't get a lot done aside from putting the school library to use, teaching some library classes, and teaching Grade 6 English for a while. I'm hoping that next term we'll get more stuck in to our actual work, during which I envision taking a consultant-like position, more in line with the aim of my job, which is to improve teachers' skills.

In the social realm, it has not been difficult making friends. I get on very well with my headmaster/principal, as well as the rest of the teachers, and we usually take lunch together after school. The only hindrance to good friendship is the frustration some cause me with their approaches to work. In the village, I spend several nights a week making the rounds, visiting compounds and practicing my Wolof (and, to a lesser extent, Fula). Juggling the social engagements can be a little daunting sometimes, so I am hoping to manage my schedule better next term.

In short the adjustment is going well. I'm coping with the diet (although I miss eggs), and sour milk is the only product that consistently upsets my stomach. Milk comes in two varieties here -- warm and fresh (right from the cow and goat), or curdled after a few days. Both are quite tasty, but I'm still not used to it.

I'll end here, but shall attempt to upload some pictures in the next day or two that my good friend from training, Lie Njie, an IT teaching volunteer here, made a CD of for us.

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

nightgrapefruit said...

Congratulations on finishing the three-month challenge. Happy Tobaski! Is there a lot of meat in your village?