|Saturday, October 16, 1999
Shannon calls more often than she did when she lived in Los Angeles!
We got some clarification on a few details this phone call. Her friend's name is Amelda, not Amelia. Her language is likely to be Pular, not Wolof. And her family of 18 people live in two houses, not three.
Her first announcement this call was that she has hit a wall with the food.
They were told that the monotony would kill them, but she had been doing fine until just
recently. She's giving up food for the duration. Um-hmm.
It's REALLY hot there. The less hot period she told us about last phone call lasted just a few days, and now it's unbearable again. Another wall, it seems.
Soon they will be doing a project in Theis similar to what they'll be doing once
they get to their real assignment. It is an assessment of the area, its needs and
wants. Following the assessment they will make a plan of action and then implement
The group recently visited a clinic that was far different from the first visit. It was clean and had tile floors and chairs. The vaccination rate for polio, hepatitis B, and yellow fever in that area is an amazing 98%. The explanation for such an exceptional site is that there are numerous agencies and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) supporting it.
Peace Corps has been in Senegal for 37 years, and it is well established and well respected. When they visit Dakar they are encouraged to make it known that they are PCVs and they will get discounts on many things.
Every four weeks the volunteers get assessed for their knowledge of French, and
when it is good enough the instruction in the native language begins. Shannon will
probably be learning Pular, not Wolof. I was disappointed to hear that, because not
only is Wolof spoken far more widely than Pular, it is an easier language to learn.
Shannon has enough else to learn, it seems!
At the end of next week (around October 21st, just one month after leaving
Minnesota) she will get her assignment. Soon thereafter she'll go spend a week there
to meet the current PCVs in the area and her future Senegalese co-workers.
Shannon hasn't received any letters from us yet since that first one, though one from her Uncle Jack had arrived.
As with other conversations, this one ended abruptly when someone else wanted to use the phone.