Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homestay Starts Tomorrow!

In about nine hours I will be moving to homestay! This is the next big step in PST, and according to several PCV trainers (current volunteers who are helping train us at PST), the first day of homestay is one of the most stressful of all of PST. I'm hoping that since I have had several experiences living with host families this one will be less stressful. Our host families have been carefully prepped for arrival, which is great news because I have complete faith that Peace Corps Mali will prepare them in a culturally sensitive way so that our adaptation is easier but so that we are also integrated into the daily life of the family without being treated too much like an outsider.

I'm still loving the Bambara - it's great fun just chatting with all the staff and improving my language skills. Most of the other volunteers are highly motivated as well, so we enjoy practicing with each other too! It's to be in a highly cooperative, as opposed to competitive, environment. The other night we chose the "chief," or dugutiki, of our stage (training group). The dugutiki has many roles, but as I understand it she will primarily serve as our liaison with the administration while we are on site, as well as help us all to stay connected as a group despite the not insignificant physical distances which will be between us. We're all laughs as a stage, it's great fun hanging out with these volunteers. Eventually we're all supposed to get sick of each other, but hopefully it will be a while before that happens!

A lot of PCVs have been coming in to Tubaniso in order to help out with training, and it is very interesting to talk to them, even if sometimes it's frustrating to hear about their projects and not know where my final placement site will be or what it will be like! We had our first technical training session today though, which was excellent. I'm really excited about what my sector (small enterprise development, or SED) is doing and about the people who are involved! We also had an interesting session on food security in Mali, a fascinating topic. Another interesting thing to check out is the Muslim festival of Tabaski, which will happen this Sunday - Google it!

My bowels have hit the adjustment period, and normal movements have become, well, not so normal. Enough said! Suffice to say that I am still in good health despite some very minor discomfort.

Stay tuned, if I get the unexpected chance to connect before Thanksgiving, you can bet on me writing a quick post!

Bambara phrase of the day:
Fali be min? = Where is the donkey?