This is it. I’m nearing the end of my training journey, well sort of, we have PST 2 in February, but before swear-in, this is it. The next 2 weeks we have to prove we have the skills to integrate, use language, and implement tech techniques in the field. As a CBT group we present to our PTA, PCVL, & LCF (some very important people) on the goals of the sector, and how our work enhances those goals. Then individually in our local language we present who we are, why we joined peace corps, and what we hope to do at site for the first 3 months. Also we have our final LPI, language proficiency exam, plus we need to write a couple essays on Senegalese Culture and how we plan to stay resilient to the emotional and physical demands of this job. On top of that, we have our final tech exam, med exam, and safety & security exam. It’s very intimidating to know that the failure of any of these tasks puts me at risk to be sent home! Eek!
As a staging group we’ve become really good friends and some of my closest friends are more than a days’ journey from me, which is hard, but we have free calling between volunteers so that’s nice. After exams we head to the beach for the weekend! We as trainees, rent a big house on the coast and we all just hang out for the weekend. Then we get sworn-in in Dakar.
After all that is over we finally get to go to our sites and begin our real Peace Corps journey! I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Swear-in here I come!
I don’t know what swear in will really be like but I know we get to wear traditional Senegalese clothes. We’ve all been working hard on buying fabric and getting things made. Here’s a picture of one of my complets (what the style is called). For my skirt I got a traditional payne (wrap skirt). My CBT family gifted me fabric and paid for me to get another complet made and it’s beautiful (aren’t they sweet!), I can’t decide which I’ll wear, but either way I’ll post pictures of me wearing one after swear in (probably just on facebook).
Here is a picture of my brother modeling my complet I got made in Thiés.
Here are my pants:
Here’s my dress
Now just real quick I want to talk about my host family. They live in Mboro, and they are Jola (a tribal group from the Cassamance). They’re such a sweet family. I have only met 3 of my siblings (the other 2 are studying at university in Dakar) and they all are very sweet and like to sing and dance. We spend our evenings goofing off and exchanging American music and Senegalese music. My mom is a “traider” as it says in my handout. It simply means she makes things to sell. She sells fruit from her fruit trees, roasted peanuts, roasted corn, and jewelry. This is a picture of her making the jewelry.
She’s also a full time mom in Senegal which means she cooks, cleans, does laundry, all without any machines, but with only her 2 hands. She also tends to the fruit orchard and feeds the animals. My siblings help her, but when they have school she does it all. This is my sister cooking.
My father is an electrician, and he works a lot so I hardly see him. My family loves learning about America. I brought my hammock to CBT and they loved it. This is a picture of my brothers both laying in it.
I’m really sad to be leaving my family after swear-in, but I plan on returning for Christmas next year!