Monday, September 30, 2013

Peace Corps Senegal: the place where dreams are mefloquin induced and the vegetables are all greener on the other side.

Im nearly out. I can no longer count the years or months; I have weeks and am still in disbelief that the countdown will shorten to days. I think it safe to say that I am more surprised than anyone else in regards to my performance. Although resilience has played a grand role, it was a performance of great stature by the end.
Peace Corps Senegal began casting two summers ago, calling ag-interested applicants out of the wood-works. After proving our skills and dedication, not to mention health and legal reputations, over any where from a ten month to a several year span, we got the part. This new season would introduce 54 new (and still clean) faces to the program of 200. Peace Corps Senegal: the place where dreams are mefloquin induced and the vegetables are all greener on the other side. 
We gradually took on local characters as we stumbled through new languages and flattened words with our American tongues, furrowed our brows at cultural practices and realized we could explain ours no better, and felt the pit of our stomachs contract, hardly satisfied by the nonsubstantial staple. Our characters filled out as we were taken in by families and made new, very patient friends. We were assigned a dialect as part of the process to correspond with our new home and workplace in a community guaranteed to be comparatively curious about our ways as we were theirs. And finally, to seal our new identities, we were given names, which sprouting from weeks of hardship and training with the promise of mysterious but gratifying years.
The show began far before any of us realized it. We were right to feel like stars the moment we found crisp invitation letters waiting expectantly in the mailbox.
I am Homa Diao, an agfo PCV in the lush region of Kolda. I belong to the Casamance, which is made obvious by my sweet Foulakounda twang. Consider me a hardworking southern belle, my family still traceable to the herding lifestyle although we've been settled for a hundred years. I have a namesake and she is beautiful; She can walk now and soon will only know me by stories. Ive been given more babies and husbands than I care to count to take back to America with me. I have a hardworking Babaa and two moms that care for me in their own ways.
My days have taken on a slower pace to allow for greetings and hamming it up with the crazy old women; my days have slowed to patiently listen to kids explain themselves without the clues of body language; my sweet days have slowed just enough for people to show me what is important to them and for me to reassess, myself.

What started out as a performance became intertwined with my life. 


  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Senegal? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Senegal in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. It starts with vivid dreams after taking mefloquine...and ends up with suicide... i am wondering that the Peace Corps still give out mefloquine as CP for malaria... there are new guidelines for malaria prevention out since 2013... mefloquin should not longer be used as CP as there are other medicines on the market with less side effects... stop taking will ruins your life

  3. This was beautiful. I'm just catching up on your blogghts (blog thoughts? I hope you got that before my explanation). I had a letter for you from about this time that I still haven't sent.
    I miss you and I hope you're exploring and forgetting about time!
    >.< gigantic-squeeze-your-multiligual-brains-out-hugs

    1. Oh. Its Janna. Why doesn't it say that!?!
      <3 Janna