Although I didn’t start my blog this way, I decided that I would begin using a new style. In order to make myself continue writing my blog, I decided to do it in Encyclopedia style. This way I have to at least write…26 blogs. Yes, I did just count the letters out on my fingers.
Act like you belong and the world is your oyster. I have never been very good at acting.
As far as my experience in the agroforestry sector goes, I would like to quote what I said when I got my email of acceptance for the job: “What is agroforestry”? I worked as a part of AmeriCorps in Montana for a few summers and definitely went to my fair share of vineyard, but I had almost no idea what agroforestry meant. I am still learning all the amazing and life changing things trees can do for a community and Peace Corps has given me some amazing training. I have started working on a few projects in my area and have found a few work partners in surrounding areas who are willing to learn from me and teach other farmers. I have been so impressed with the way Senegalese people share their knowledge with others in order to better the community instead of just their own incomes. I intend to work on starting a woodlot for the women in my area, as they do all of their cooking over a fire and have a hard time finding wood to burn. I am also starting to extend tree sacs to grow the cashew and mango orchards in my area. The final project I am starting is planting trees as a live fence around farms to keep animals from eating their crops. After months of training I can safely say that agroforestry is a land use system that incorporates trees, agriculture, and/or livestock on a single piece of land to produces greater social benefits, higher yields, and long term sustainability…I think.
My yard has more ants than the movie Ants.
One day while sitting in a cafe in the city of Thies, the TV was showing a movie about a group of teens that had lived through an apocalypse and were wandering the wilderness together. After a few minutes of watching the poorly dubbed film, I realized that they had much better cooking materials than my host mother and were producing very lack luster meals. They did not prepare their apocalypse shopping list in advance.
Besides being the funniest name in all of Senegal, it is that thing on your backside. My bed at my site here is basically a big piece of foam. The comfort level is almost like a memory foam bed if you removed all the comfort. In Senegal you eat large amounts of rice for every meal and sit a lot. These two facts combine to make my bed look like there are two very large dents the size of Senegalese rice bowls in the center of my bed at the exact point where my butt might sit.
A few months after arriving at my site, an enormous religious gathering was happening in a nearby city. My entire village piled into one bus and drove the 3 hours to the event. There were so many people in the area that I got to see the ingenuity of Senegalese people at work. I slept on a ladies roof surrounded by 40 other people and it was the first time Senegal ever got cold. Sleeping people lined the sidewalks and every bench had a person snoozer. In the morning, my host mom and I took a trip to the market where everything from mangoes to tank tops decaled with the face of the local holy man was being sold. A slightly overly friendly man in the market tried to put his hand down my pants. Why anyone would want to touch my sweaty butt in 102-degree weather is beyond me, but I grabbed said finger and snapped that bad boy right in half. He cried. I ran away. This is the closest to a fight I have ever experienced. I’m tough, guys!
The Wolof word for tea is attaya. Drinking tea is a huge part of Senegalese culture. Every day farmers, businessmen, the president (I assume with absolutely no evidence), and breakfast ladies alike sit down to attaya and chat. I do not drink tea, which always turns into the same conversation.
Them: “Have some tea.”
Me: “Thanks but I don’t drink tea.”
Me: “No coffee either. Water is fine.”
Me: “Water is fine.”
Them to everyone they see: “She doesn’t drink tea!”