One Year In!!!

The other Gora in the village with his children and compost

Pardon the three month hiatus, I’m very indebted to anyone still reading this

May – A month of travel.

June – Week of girls camp and getting some quality time in with the village.

July – Typing class for a group of students and a woman.

There are several projects I’m sinking my teeth into at the moment which makes each day a little easier to get through though I still leave the village from time to time for a breather. There are many annoying aspects to travel in this country and the bus to Dakar from my village is full of them too. When the bus honks loadly and repeatedly at 5:30 AM on the main road of my village, the noise doesn’t end there, they blast talk radio during the three kilometer trips to the Foundiougne ferry queue and as we wait until the 7:30 AM ferry departure in the dark, it doesn’t occur to the passengers, bus staff, or drivers that it would be easier for all of us to sleep if the radio was off. Another painful part of the trip is the traffic on the way into Dakar, a capital with only one road in or out. Generally we sit in Dakar traffic for at least an hour and distance wise it’s the shortest leg of the trip. Meeting in the middle is a new thing Margaret and I have been doing and both times we arrived within ten minutes of each other.

Mbour is about as touristy an area as it gets, two and a half hours south of Dakar, it has been selected as the location for the new international airport. It just happen to be the midpoint between my village and the capital. There is a little town just outside called Warang, where liqueurs are distilled, which isn’t exactly famous but known amongst the foreigners here. We popped in for a visit and were pleasantly suprised.

Warang distillery garden

A half Danish-half Belgian guy is running it with his wife. It’s a family business, they go from country to country in Africa making liqueurs with non-traditional fruits, liqueurs that can be produced with African fruit. Of the 15-20 varieties available in Senegal he had four out for tasting: bissap/mint, passion fruit, cashew apple, and creamy coffee/banana liqueur (likened to Baileys). FYI – until coming to Senegal I didn’t realize the cashew tree doesn’t only produce a nut but also an apple, a very juicy apple that then completely dries out your mouth, the after taste is like the Sahara desert.

Action pose

Arne, the Danish owner, is very interesting to talk to as he has been living in Africa for the last 23 years, moving from country to country with his dad building distilleries. In The Gambia (the country inside Senegal) he had a large plot of land near the capital and Peace Corps would throw parties in his distillery for volunteers so he was well acquainted with the organization for which we volunteer.

Warang distillery from outside on the road

Arne had us taste all four available, asked us our favorite and gave us another glass of it. He genuinely told us not to feel compelled to buy a bottle, not only was there a Peace Corps discount but a stamp card so if you buy five then you get one free. It was a really nice place.

They are going to change their label to this after Arne saw this photo.

Work in the Village:

I was talked into mosaic tiling my floor by my closest pcv neighbor (Jack), we planned on that being a project to work on together. I got three giant rice sacks full of broken tile, a 50kg bag of cement, and a trowel. The floor needs an overhaul, there are quite a few ant mounds I’d like to close with cement and tile. Jack came, we laid down a tiny section of the floor to test how it would work and it turned out great. We planned to meet in two weeks to finish the floor but Jack never showed up and I decided to keep working on it by myself. It’s a great way to pass the time.

Compost by force:

Some one yelled at me on the street, declaring I was his language pupil and I couldn’t get out of his proposed class time. So when we met I turned the tables and made him build a compost in his house. Here’s the one we built at his house:

Make shift household compost.

Nearly every compound has weeds growing all over, a pile of manure, and random bricks or sheet metal to build a fence. So long as we find a large amount of dry leaves or weeds and there is dirty house hold water available we can build a compost.

My two wives in the village are making sure all house hold waters is dumped in the compost.

So now I’ve been going house to house building composts, developing relationships, and adding to my local language vocabulary.

Action pose at another built compost.

Here’s another completed compost:

This one was built in record time.

Building as many household compost as possible in the village is phase one of what I hope will be a waste management project. I’m not holding my breath, as I’d have to find the means to build a landfill, convince families to pay a trash collector, convince some one to be a trash collector, and get people to throw trash away in bags strategically placed around the compound. It might happen and I’m going to work hard in order to see that it does.

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