You are viewing helot

West in Africa [entries|friends|calendar]
Saliyou Boiro

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ calendar | livejournal calendar ]

Just so you know [10 Nov 2007|01:30pm]
[ mood | hungry ]

I'm in good health. I recently contracted the fear that I have worms living in my intestines though. Bad worms. The things you take to remove these are either intétrix or vermox. I've been thinking about buying one of those and removing the threat. The Terror, if you will. That's right, I've found a fight against Terror that you can actually win! Take that, US government!

5 new volunteers are coming into Kolda today. What do I know about them? They are 'nice.' I'm quoting someone on that. So now by that, I feel you all can pretty much tell how these people are, their personalities and preferences and what not. I know I can. Still, welcome! This is the last group I'll be able to welcome into our region. That means I'm almost done!

As for village life and work, things are still going well. Village girls are still flirting with me, and village guys are still trying to get me to sit down and talk/drink tea with them. I'm working very hard on starting three gardens this year: a women's garden and two school gardens. This is harder than it sounds, but I'm trying my hardest to get these up. School gardens means that school has finally started in my neck of the woods. I PRAY that it's not another year wasted by teachers strikes (like the 5 previous years). Nothing else really new has happened, but I feel that's enough.

I'm obsessing about how much time I have left in country, and I don't see a good side to this at all. Going back to the US is terrifying to me and staying in Senegal is an emotional impossibility. I'm stuck. Don't worry, I'm coming back. Just don't expect me to be calm. I can guarantee that coming home will be horrifying for me. Then maybe it will be good. But it'll be too much of a mental and emotional overload. I'm not kidding. Pray for me.

3 comments|post comment

I'm in Ghana. I'm okay and it's great. [27 Sep 2007|06:48pm]
[ mood | pooey ]

I'm in Ghana. I'm okay and it's great. I'll try to write more than this later. Like 'I'm in Ghana. I'm okay and it's great. And how.'

2 comments|post comment

Vacation Nation [18 Sep 2007|07:48am]
Since I'm almost done with the Peace Corps, it's high time I used some of the days that PC gives me. Everyone else in my group has already gone so now it's my turn. So the plan is Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. I'm in Mali right now and so far it's pretty good. I'm with another guy named Dan and we've just been hanging out in Mali with other PC volunteers. We've had some good nights. Being in the Peace Corps is a pretty big in wherever you go.

The way we're travelling is overland. That's really tough and stressful, and getting visas is pretty difficult. They don't make anything easy by any means. It's almost like they don't want us travelling in their countries. But I wouldn't want to travel any other way. You just see more overland versus plane.

Tomorrow I leave Mali for Burkina. If I can, I'll tell you how that goes.

Toubab!
2 comments|post comment

Summer Camp! [11 Aug 2007|03:48pm]
[ mood | drained ]

This last week I was up in Dakar to help with a summer camp at a Dakar high school, called Limomou-laye in the suburb of Gediouwaye. Silly name. The US embassy sponsored it. The students were really good at english though, and were somewhere between 17 and 22. We spent most of the time having activities like sports (american footbal, ultimate frisbee), music translation (wolof to english), team cheers, dances, talking about us and Peace Corps and the US in general. The highlights of the week were when they performed the songs they made for their groups, they got really into it. One team got leaves and wore them. The last day, we ate lots of food that we made for them, we got to hang out with these amazing teachers, and we got to come to Dakar and enjoy ourselves. The downsides were that it was very tiring and time-consuming, there was almost zero support from the US embassy, and they gave us no advice as to what we should do in terms of activities. So there was a lot of last-minute planning. The absolute worse was the ultimate frisbee day. Some guy threw a frisbee at my face point blank. Oops. Another guy decided to wrestle me without my consent, which ended up with my rib cage feeling sore and crushed and I still can't lift heavy things because of the pain this guy caused in my chest. I have no idea what he did to me but it hurts. Either way, we finished yesterday and now I'm in Dakar just waiting to go to training in Thies. I get to help in some way (I'm not sure yet how) for a week. I hope I get to help by sharing my work successes and experiences. And I hope I don't have to be there full-time. Not because I have anything better to do, but because it will make me tired if I have to help them all the time like that.

Oh and in September I get to go to Ghana, another country you've probably never heard of or even cared about. But I'M going there! It's in west africa and it's supposed to be fairly well forested. I hope it is different than senegal. Otherwise, I'll go there and just spend a lot of money to see a lot of the same things I've seen in Senegal. I doubt it will be the same though. September 15th, I go to Mali. Then around September 20th I'm going to Burkina Faso. Then I'll make it to Ghana...when I get there. It's not a very well planned trip. I didn't want it to be. I did find someone to go with. Dan from Gambia. He's a Peace Corps volunteer in the country that my country holds between its thighs. To keep it warm presumably. All the Gambia has is a river. It is something like 50 miles wide at its largest point. But we're going together and we're going to go 'jungle' style. We'll be staying at other PCV villages and bike riding when it seems like a good idea. I hope it works out and that it's fun and cheap. Gee!

4 comments|post comment

8 minutes left [03 Aug 2007|05:50pm]
Senegalese internet is kind of bad sometimes so I'll work fast. Just wanted to share the day I had, in fast motion. So I went into Diamnadio yesterday to hang out with my senegalese family that lives near, but not in, the capital of Senegal. The capital being Dakar. So today I went into Dakar today to look for a mali visa. I ended up not getting it, but I got to ride into the center of town on just 50 cents or so. It took 3 hours, but no one said being a cheap-ass was easy. Anyway, I went wandering around and got a lot of my halloween costume, or at least the fabric. I'm going to be captain planet, if I can somehow pull it off. It should be ridiculous either way. Well I ended up getting ice cream, which is always exciting, and running into random people and talking to them. It's kind of easy to do that, at least here. I also ended up going to a large landmark in dakar and jumping at a Flamboyens tree to get its seed pods so I can plant them and tell everyone in my village that they came from the Place de L'Independence, in the center of Dakar. Which many haven't gone to. Then I ended up starting to go home and got to Rufisque, where I am now, and wandered around. Rufisque is the perfect pirate town and it makes my imagination go wild. It's beautiful in its dirty way. I sat with a pulaar family, sat by the ocean, and now I'm writing, not far from the ocean. I can hear it. Anyway I wish I had more time to explain but I don't. So take care and I'm really thinking of you all right now.
post comment

Worlds [01 Aug 2007|04:48pm]
I've had this idea in my mind to talk about for a long time. But it's tough for me to put into words that won't come off sounding fake. I'll just say it. I just feel that there is too much to do and see. I mean just look at all of the different types of people, or just the people in your life. Each one is like this huge world all to themselves. It would be impossible to get to see or know all of anyone, or of any culture. And then all of the histories and sciences and arts. Some subjects you could study for the rest of your life and just never finish. Then all of the different types of jobs you could have. In some ways, you could just pretty much do anything. And all of the possibilities you could do with the time you have. Any day, you could just get up and do anything. One day, you could say, 'today, I'm going to buy an indian elephant on the russian black market.' Or better yet, sell one. Why don't we do these things? I could never be stuck in the mindset that there is nothing to do. I could never justify the wasting of a year. For me there are too many interesting and worthy things to do in the world. Strange as it sounds, I feel that love gets in the way as much as fear. I mean, if I love someone, then I'm going to be influenced by them. If this person I love doesn't want to go anywhere, then I would probably prefer to stay near that person. But that only limits the possibilities. There would still be thousands of things you could choose to do all of the time. Tricky.

This isn't intended to be a debate. It's really subjective, but I'm entirely convinced of it. I don't know where other people stand on this and I'm kind of afraid to ask most everyone because of the type of conversation it is. It's just too loaded with what sounds like bullshit to me for me to really approach someone and ask their thoughts on this. So I don't and I'm left blind on the subject. But still the thought inspires me always, even when I'm depressed, of the vastness of what we can do. I doubt I'll live up to what that leads to though. Just thought I'd share.

P.S. The villagers in Saré Pathé, Senegal say hi to you all.
2 comments|post comment

What to say? [17 May 2007|08:12pm]
[ mood | guilty ]

I love my village. I don't think that's healthy because I'm leaving in a year and, well, I can't take it with me. I shouldn't really say I love my village. I love the people in the village. My village itself is inconvenient, dirty, tiring, and the food is bad. The people are also inconvenient, dirty, tiring, and I assume they taste bad too. But the difference between the objects in the village and the people is that I love the people. I could actually do without the village. Everything's blurred.

I'm doing well here. Really well. Better than I was in the US. I just talked to Greg an Alex who have shared much hilarity with me and asked me good questions to boot. It's always good to talk to them and their voices and incessant breathing make me happy.

We just got a new batch of volunteers in Kolda. There are 5 new ones here and I wish them the best, though it's guaranteed that some of them will crash and be unhappy, angry, worn out, or insane after being in their village for a while and not knowing how to deal with the completely different life. But no matter what you say about me I'm at least positive here and want to help them in any way I can. The best way to help is probably by being positive. I love them too even though I don't know them. I love them less than my friends and my village and maybe even my horse, but the point is I love them. Until they turn out to be stupid and piss me off. They do quite often piss me off. Hippies. But peace corps volunteers rarely seem to be stupid strangely enough. Good conversations are shared by all. I don't feel like I'm smart enough for this crowd. Still, it helps not at all to be incredibly smart and still be unhappy in your village. I don't really know if I have a point here, so I'll just end abruptly.

2 comments|post comment

Senegalese independence [04 Apr 2007|11:33am]
We're free! And have been for almost seventy years. Yesterday was senegalese independence day. Their parades suck unless you enjoy people in sharp costumes walking funny and green (presumably military) pick-up trucks. Nothing happened in my village either. No celebration. I guess in some ways it makes little difference to a village what form of government they have as long as village life doesn't change for the worse. In seventy years, what the government has given my villagers can amount to a lot in african terms. We have a school in our village. Electricity 4k away from us. Internet soon to come. But the main thing my village sees is the school. Does it really matter if the senegalese built it or a colonial father? To me it does. I'm proud that I'm in a country that is that functional. But I didn't celebrate either. I DID go to the crazy market 12k away from me though. I bought lots of random stuff, including a gris-gris. These are piecies of scripture from the Koran written by a holy leader with 'powers' (not at all like professor x). It is then put in leather (mine is sheeps leather) and worn on the body. Mine is on the upper arm, where I feel it's more asthetic. The man said if I wear it and eat rice, I'll get big like a senegalese wrestler. I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but lets just say it's for health. I'm wearing it right now. It smells like spit, probably for a good reason.

Besides that, my tree nurseries are doing okay. My garden was broken into and eaten by bandit livestock. They have been apprehended and are sentenced to hanging from their udders for five hours or until they fall out of the noose. They didn't touch the onion though, so I'll be planting much more of that next year. And I've been inspired by a vision for my backyard. If you've ever been inspired you know what sort of task that can be. It has made me loose sleep and go walking around my backyard planning late at night. I've rarely been inspired like this, but last time I was I ended up making a pretty good webpage. The loss of sleep is kind of disturbing but worth it in the end I feel.

My village has also been chosen to host a women's celebration. Before we or I get too excited about this, I should say that celebrations are kind of disappointing in villages. We as americans just get conditioned to think of celebrations as amazing things in the US because they usually are. But the fact that I'm in a village in a third world country kind of subtracts from the possibilities. Let's just call it a meeting from now on. There will be food and music and women walking around in nice clothes. Men too i guess but i hardly notice the men. The disappointment aside, I want to say one of the strongest and most beautiful things I've experienced is a wedding in the village. They get a generator, string lights up and dance to music, both live and through a stereo. But the way people look in that light, and the way it plays off of the mangoe trees and the general environment of the village is beautiful.

Anyway, I'll just leave this at that. Enough for now. Hope you're doing well. Take care.
2 comments|post comment

WAIST! [15 Feb 2007|01:50pm]
[ mood | WAIST! ]

So I'm going to Dakar! That's definitely good news. This will end my much-too-long stay in my region. Five months in a forest? NEVER AGAIN! Thanks. It's so close, I can't wait! Things are going good in the village, but only Kolda volunteers have this problem of getting horribly stuck in their region it seems. It could be the fact that it is the poorest region in all of senegal, it's far far away from anything pretty, and it takes two days or more to get from my village to the capital Dakar. Three strikes, you're out. I WILL make it to Dakar though, or I'll die trying. Or I'll dye trying. But the idea of this wonderful holiday of friends and good food seems more like a fantasy than an actual concrete thing that I am going to enjoy. After this, monthly or so, I'll have interesting events about once a month that lead me out of my village and into the larger world ... for about 8 months. Then I'm almost done! So now I get to go into my second and easier year. Thank goodness. Or as they say here (but very rarely spell) Alhamdoulilahi!

post comment

Nothing Personal [12 Jan 2007|12:47pm]
[ mood | restless ]

Hey. Can't think of anything really pertinent to write, but I want to write anyway. Just to let everyone know that things are going okay over here. So they are going okay. I've been working a bit lately, visiting other volunteers lately too. Two people in Kolda got visitors and I was more than happy to see them. The garden is going okay and the orchard is growing too. Nothing really bad is happening here. Just working a lot. It's exciting to see my work actually realized. I mean, I'm doing exactly what they want me to in Peace Corps. There is a lot of difficulty in the translation from the city to the village life, but it's working and that has to count for something. Is it possible to get so used to life so different that I'm not even appreciating how different everything is here anymore? That's possible. And an inevitable part of 'integration' that the Peace Corps so strives for. Integration leads to staleness. But that's okay. I'm still thinking about Europe trips and stuff. That definitely makes the 15 months seem less. Not even significant, really. Can't wait. Who's with me?

3 comments|post comment

Merry Christmas [24 Dec 2006|12:45pm]
Hey. So. It's christmas. I don't really know if that means a lot in itself to me, but I do know that when I think of christmas, I think of vacation. I think of spending time with family and friends. Some of it is uncomfortable (hanging out with some relatives is a chore) but most of it is comforting. Just doing what I want to do, no pessure, no, less pressure. Seeing lots of people that I don't get to normally see. Seeing others that I want to see more. But all of that is kind of lost to me here. I'm using Christmas as an excuse to come into town, but I'm not celebrating. No, I'm not celebratory. I'm just using this holiday as an excuse to try to relax a bit and to dog people into calling me so I can hear about what they've been doing. I'm horribly out of touch. Some people have already just dropped off the side of my social earth. They're just gone. I didn't want that at all, but I figured I was asking for it coming here. As much as I try, I still can't really feel like I'm finding out enough about everyone that I want to. I mean, I really want to hear about the important things that people are doing, but I equally want to hear about what people did yesterday. What they ate. What TV they watched. Confining lives to 'important strides' isn't the way I think, and it doesn't do enough to humanize all of the people that I want to hear about. But when would I have the time to do all of that? When would anyone else?

This is all I'm thinking about this christmas. Not hearing enough of the people I care about. I care. Anyway, what else is there to say. I don't want this to sound different, angry, or false. I don't feel it's any of those things. What I mean is that I want everyone to have a merry christmas. Have a good time this year. Less stress, more friends. And I can't wait to join back in that too.
post comment

Ramadan never again [30 Oct 2006|11:20am]
[ mood | okay ]

Ramadan is over. I fasted for ramadan 22 out of the 28 days my family fasted. God, that was tiring. But now it's over and I'm eating and drinking during all normal hours of the day again.

So I'm supposed to be working with the school in my village by the way. That's kind of the focus of my work (environmental EDUCATION). School has started again but I haven't gone. And now is halloween, so I sure as hell am not going to be in my village for that! Drunken fun would only turn my entire village against me. Apparently muslims here are very strict about the no alcohol rule of all rules. The female modesty rule (what I like to call the 'clothes optional' rule) and the hours of prayer rule are kind of neglected, but I'll be damned if anyone catches you drunk in your village and you make it out of that without people ostracizing you. So I'm going to get drunk in our regional house in the city of Kolda, which is against the rules. But fuck the rules! This is halloween we're talking about. I'm an american and halloween is my favorite holiday, so I'll do what I have to do to enjoy myself. Damn Peace Corps.

Anyway, I'm doing good here still. Feeling my jive turkey. Spinning a web of happiness any way that I can. Keeping mostly unsmelly and clean. And not insane yet. Hey, if I've gotten this far, then I can surely go the rest of the way. 7 and a half months. Woo!

2 comments|post comment

Livestocked [21 Oct 2006|11:25am]
Anyone that has ever wanted a horse, I say strike now while the iron is hot. I bought a horse for about 250 dollars. Her name is Eve. She's beautiful. Besides the horse, a village chief gave me a chicken in the second month after I got to my village because he was happy I came to say hi to him. Her name is Kelly. And just this last wednesday, I got a male sheep for 30 dollars. This sheep is going to be sacrificed for the muslim holy day of Tabaski, where people have to sacrifice male sheep. I will hopefully sell this sheep for 50 dollars around the time Tabaski rolls around. I still haven't named the Sheep. I was thinking Jerry of Tom and Jerry because I have always wanted to see that mouse go down. Or Scooby Doo, because I hate that show too. And I was thinking about naming it Greg too, but then I realized that doing so would reveal my eventual plan to dress Greg up as a male sheep and sell him to a muslim family for Tabaski. But the sheep isn't named yet. Any suggestions?
3 comments|post comment

hot africa days hot africa nights [30 Sep 2006|03:12pm]
[ mood | fasting ]

Well I seemed to have forgotten which of my livejournal names I used to use so sorry for the two seperate messages from the same person if you get two. In an effort for improved laziness, I am going to copy and then paste exactly what I wrote in the last journal entry right into this one. Enjoy! Oh, and please write to me under this name if at all possible. Writing with 'spinco' was a mistake and should never be repeated again. Well here's what Spinco had to say about me being in Africa:

You can tell I'm in French-speaking Sénégal because I put the àççènt màrks on the é's.

Anyway, you'd think that by me saying that this is my first post in Sénégal that I would have only just gotten here. I've been here for six months. And I'm a Peace Corps volunteer.

Hope this gets to some of the people that haven't been getting my mass e-mail stuff though. Anyone that gets this and wants my snail-mail address, phone number, or to get group e-mailed once or twice a month please say so and I'd be more than happy to correspond. The more the merrier I say. And I only say what I mean. I'm that serious.

I can only get to the internet every once in a couple of weeks because I'm normally in a village without any conveniences and I'm not MacGuyver so I feel powerless to change my situation.

So I just wanted to send this out to tell everyone I'm doing fine and having fun, and to say hi to some of the people I haven't been able to say hi to in a while. Especially Lydian. I hope I can talk to you a little bit every now and then from now on. We'll play it as it goes along. Anyway, take care all and I'll hopefully hear from some of you soon. 'Soon' being in a couple of weeks.

2 comments|post comment

Alex's Number [18 Aug 2004|05:01pm]
Hey, everyone who wants/needs Alex's number, she asked me to post it. So I will. Her number is:

480-377-6346

Being lazy, I will probably use my own journal entry to call her until I write it down somewhere else. Which may be never.

Now, I'll continue to pack. Moving into dorms and such...
post comment

Journal Time! [07 Aug 2004|07:29am]
[ mood | Jet-lagged ]

You have no idea how fast a deadline can make one get things done!

That mentioned, my journal is basically complete. I'll add more pictures when I have time, or if there's another deadline. I'd like you guys to look at it.

China Times!

http://www.public.asu.edu/~nwhipps is the address.

Please somebody look at it. It would be sad to have spent so much time on this and have no one look at it. And I'd probably throw a fit if that happened and just fill the site with obscenities. Not that that's a reason to not look at the site!

Look at the site!

21 comments|post comment

Return from China [04 Aug 2004|06:35pm]
For those of you who knew I went to China, I will ask for your permission to let you know that I am back.

For those of you who didn't know I went to China, China is not a real geographical location. It is drawn on maps to hide the ugliness of the rest of Russia, much like the way I put mascara on my chest to hide the absence of my nipples. I have been home hibernating with my friend the British black bear who thinks she is a penguin. Which is a good thing, because I hate the British.

See some of you soon.

Nick
7 comments|post comment

Good music ~ Good friend [22 Jun 2004|11:34pm]
[ mood | ecstatic ]

Okay. I thought that this was worth noting. This was a bar in the Shanxi province in the city of Datong.
Good music ~ Good friendCollapse )

2 comments|post comment

Whoever has the most power is right. [15 Jun 2004|08:13pm]
Just think about that comment for a while.

I'm not going to say that I believe it to be true, but I've thought about it for a while, so I thought why not post something about what I've worked up.
post comment

Right [15 Jun 2004|07:50pm]
[ mood | content ]

I think that one way of looking at how people determine who or what is right is to determine who has the most power. At least it makes sense to me to say so. If someone thinks that the US has the most power (in all the universe), then they feel that the US is in the right. Working up to the main point, I think it may be possible to say that people think God is right because they feel he has the most power. Since he has the most power, he can decide how we live and our absolute morals.

If there exists a more powerful than God (written this way intentionally), then I would dare to say he could say what is right. I'm not going into what power or right is, but I just wanted to put out a theory. Under this theory, then people only care about power - over life, death. That's how we determine what we should follow: by personally judging what can punish us the most. I don't know what that would tell us about our value system or concept of authority. Might makes right.

I could keep explaining, but hopefully you can develop this by yourself.

2 comments|post comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]