This past week, all the PCVs from Senegal, as well as a few from Mali, Nigère, Burkina, and perhaps other countries, participated in a two-day all-volunteer conference in Dakar, followed by WAIST. Each region had their own softball team, and there were also several teams not affiliated with Peace Corps. Our team, The Dangerous Mimes, from the Fouta region, is notoriously bad - the worst, in fact. This year, our goal was to not lose by as much as we did last year. Ultimately, we did better but still did badly. We got beat by a team of 8-year-olds and two teams of 14-year-olds. The only team we beat was one that did a beer bong before each hit. In any case, it was fun hanging out with a bunch of Americans for the week.


My second piece of news is maybe a little more important, maybe not. I have decided to end my service early (after a year) rather than stay the usual two years. This was not a decisions I made lightly, and I believe it is the right decision for me. I have done a lot of work that I am proud of, and I feel fulfilled in my service. There are many reasons for leaving, but mainly, my Peace Corps experience turned out to be different than I had expected. It is more debilitatingly hot than I thought it would be and development work is a lot slower than I imagined.

I think if you keep working at something, it’s eventually going to get somewhere, it just takes a really long time. I think my personality is more suited to work with fast results. For example, I liked teaching swim lessons because on day one the kids (or adults) couldn’t swim, and on day eight they could. Here, I’ll teach people a concept over and over again but they won’t apply what they’ve learned. Change is possible, it just takes years. In the end, I feel that it’s not worth it to be so far away from home and to feel like I’m accomplishing so little.

I don’t regret coming here in any way. It has been a positive experience for me, and I feel like the people of Thilogne have really appreciated my being here. I think we have learned a lot from each other in a short period of time. I will be leaving Thilogne the end of March, and I will then be in Dakar for a week or two before heading home (and yes, Mon Amie will be joining me). Until then, I have HIV and Gender Development classes to teach, as well as a couple other small projects to work on.

On another note, if you have sent me something recently, I will likely receive it before I leave; however, anything you send from this point on may not make it to me in time. Thank you for all your support thus far, and be sure to keep reading, as I will continue to update this! Photos to come…