This blog reflects my personal ideas and does not represent any position of the US government or the Peace Corps.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Working with Constraints

The well we hope to repair in Diam Diam Saly
In an effort to stay somewhat sane or occupied during the dry, hot season, I decided to take on a small well reparation project in a village nearby. Each rainy season, runoff contaminates the well in Diam Diam Saly (approximately one kilometer away from my site) to the point where its water is undrinkable. Living in a desert with no water...don't ask me how they do it. So, with a little help from the folks at Water Charity, we have begun the process of collecting materials for reinforcing the well. This past Wednesday our efforts began with a trip to Koungheul and a few important lessons were learned. After waking up at 4:30 am, I waited by the front of our compound under the moonlight, listening to the booming population of donkeys and waiting for the call to prayer. Five o'clock passed, then six o'clock, and I finally dragged my droopy self back into bed. At approximately eight o'clock the horse-drawn carriage arrived...first lesson, something I should have hammered into my head in September of 2011, nothing happens on time. The two hour ride into Koungheul under the blistering sun After arriving, we proceeded to purchase 2,200 kilograms of cement, or 2.2 tons, along with a few other accessories. This would be carried back to the village through sheer horse power, the kind fed by peanut hay. Envisioning that this could end in some issues particularly with my level of exhaustion, I decided to catch a car back to village. I waited for the car for approximately 6 hours. Don't worry, during those six hours I was invited to attend a naming ceremony by a friend who lives in Koungheul, this is how Senegal works. You never know where your going to go, who you'll spend the day with, what you'll eat or experience. The ceremony certainly occupied me during those hours. After the car finally filled (a small Peugot pickup stuffed with approximately 20 people, 14 in the back, 2 in the front and the remaining 4 on top), I arrived home at about 6 pm, exhausted, popped in for a bucket shower and collapsed into bed before the sun went down. The carriage driver called me at about 10 o'clock to say they had broken down on the way home... second lesson, rickety carriages are not meant to carry that much cement. I believe they made it home at around midnight, a long day. It's often funny for me to imagine how little time a task such as this may have taken in the states, one hour? maybe two? maybe even just a few-minute call to the local store to deliver the cement? who knows, but here, we are living with constraints. Anyway, the reparation stage of the well is about to begin, as quickly as possible, before the rains hit, so be looking for updates.

I also have posted a couple of pictures of a wedding I attended recently. A good friend of mine from village (Mati Gueye) moved into her husbands house this past month in a village nearby and was thrown a large ceremony with lots of rice! She is the man's second wife and he was absolutely beaming, as I'm sure they all are (not pictured).

Also, checkout my photobucket for a few more photos from these past few months ( Hope all is well in the states and heating up (I'll send some your way!)!
Mati (center) and her "wujju" or first wife (right) being driven to
their husband (not pictured) by my host father (left) on his

Mati preparing for the ceremony.