Well despite good intentions and a promising start, it turns out that blogging while in a developing country without a computer was too much a challenge for me. However now that our program is over and I have more friends with laptops to be borrowed internet access is coming a bit easier. For the immediate future I plan to try and update on new developments and then as time permits revisit past adventures. I have also found that I can update on Twitter much more easily, so I have added a Twitter widget to this page! Check it out for shorter but more frequent updates.
The first of us has already left and thankfully she avoided the volcanic cloud disaster to make it to Paris. Except for Adama (Jessica Lodal) we are all leaving within the next two weeks. Here is my plan for the immediate future. On Saturday I move out of my host family and then leave directly with Adama for Kedougou (down in the South Easternmost corner of the country) by bus or sept-place, whatever is going that direction for the cheapest. We plan to spend a solid week there, doing such things as hiking, biking and seeing the beautiful waterful. Although Kedougou is in the South it is not dangerous as are certain parts of the Casamance right now. From Kedougou we return to Dakar for my last few days. In Dakar I will stay with Gimme and Karina, who have generously allowed me to stay in their beautiful apartment, which is just behind the Baobab Center. They have rented it for a couple months while they take French classes at the center. I will stay there for about four days until my flight out of Dakar on the morning of the 5th of May at 3:50 in the morning. From Dakar we will take a short break in Casablanca on the way to Frankfort, and then I take a bus from Frankfort to Strasbourg. Volcanoes willing, the trip should be easy.
The idea of leaving has been hitting me in small incremements for some time now. It still hasn't fully sunk in. My feelings are strongly mixed, as usual, since I am excited to see Coline (and before too long my parents!) again, but I know that I will miss Sénégal immensely. The transition from daily life here to daily life in France will be a great challenge I know. In particular the fast paced, impersonal western society will be difficult. I am hoping that the reverse culture shock will not be too strong but as I was telling John in an email the other day, it's always after the fact that I seem to notice having had culture shock, not so much while I was in it. We'll see, I hope that writing here will allow me to keep processing the experience. The little details of daily life continue to strongly mark my experience here, and they are the things that I will miss the most profoundly. The daily interactions with people at Baobab are a great example. The energy and enthousiasm of everyone here is unparalleled, and there is nothing that makes you feel better than being greeted so warmly every time you see your friends (even if it is for the fifth time that day).
Unfortunately that's all I have time for at the moment ... more to come soon, inchallah!