|December 5, 1999
Shannon was back at the training center in Theis when she called early Sunday morning, just over a week since we had heard from her last. I sure hope that the calls are as frequent when she gets to her assignment destination in Matam.
We discussed Sara and Jefferson's upcoming visit to Senegal in March during their respective spring breaks from college rather than in May when school gets out. Shannon concurred that this would be a very good idea because the weather in May is as bad as it gets. She has been told that the heat and wind in May are unbearably bad, so bad that she was told to imagine trying to breathe with a hot hair dryer blowing in her face. Then the suggestion was amended to a hot hair dryer blowing sand in her face. I know that I'll avoid a visit to Senegal in May!
Shannon had received all
three of the boxes we sent for Christmas and said they were just WONderful. I know
that they were pathetic, but she insisted that it is really wonderful to receive
packages. When I asked what she liked best, she wouldn't really say. The only
thing she mentioned was the Stove Top Stuffing. See... I told you it was pathetic.
Shannon's Pular language instruction is coming along, but it is a very, very
difficult language. The bad news is that it is hard to learn. The good news is
that it is the second most prevalent language in all of Africa, second only to Swahili, so
it will be helpful later when she is traveling around Africa. Her friend Cira is
very fluent, and Shannon seemed confident that in time she would be too.
One of the trainees, Amelda, the only African-American trainee, quit Peace Corps
and will be going home. She said that she was leaving because being there didn't
thrill her enough to sustain her like it needed to in order for her to withstand the
inevitable hardships. She was at peace with her decision, though, because she had
seen and done what she wanted to, such as Goree Island, the famous place near Dakar where
slaves destined for America were housed.