First of all I wanted to start this post by apologizing for how long it has been since I have written anything. I am a slacker. I usually try to wait to write posts until I feel like I have something incredibly witty or fascinating to say. Sometimes I forget that just the day to day things that I am doing are probably interesting to at least someone, right?
I thought I’d begin this entry by talking about what I have been doing during this hiatus since I last posted anything. This past week has been the beginning of our IST (in-service training, I don’t have to reiterate Peace Corps’ love of acronyms). This means that I have been out of my site and participating in various sessions that are supposed to help easier facilitate projects in my village. This also means that I have officially been sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer for 3 months now! For those of you that don’t know, I am living in Ngallou which is a small village located in the community of Palmarin, Senegal. My village is situated right between the coast and the Sine-Saloum Delta.
The program that I am a volunteer under is Community Economic Development and my focus is on the eco-tourism industry. This is largely because I live in a beautiful place that has a lot of potential for touristic activities (come visit me!!) but it’s also my job to make sure that this tourism is sustainable, environmentally friendly and benefits the local population (those are the main components of eco-tourism in case you didn’t know). See said beautiful place below.
The past few weeks have consisted of me making my way around my village trying to assess how I can help. I have already decided to implement an English class for interested eco-guides to better communicate with their clientele. I am also working with a local hotel in basic business principles such as marketing, accounting, customer service, etc. Along with the eco-tourism jazz I am also working on several secondary projects that include a school garden, compost/waste management projects, coastal erosion evasion work, a carbon offsets program and also collaboration with the local artists on expanding their product lines. Each day involves a new set of challenges and slowly but surely I am finding my place where I can be of use here in Senegal.
Well. Now that you’re caught up on most of the lengthy work-related information I have some of my more typical words of wisdom (ranting) that I would like to share. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the development of a society, namely of the United States. Because of our incredible wastefulness during our industrialization period, other countries are suffering the consequences out of the mess that we’ve made. We were able to progress and develop in a way that most other countries cannot copy due to the environmental detriment that we created along the way. I think that now, more than ever, we owe it to not only ourselves but to the rest of the world to try and live a more simplistic lifestyle.
I personally think everyone should have to do a few things in order to understand how many people in this world live. At least once in their lives, I believe everyone should have to take a bucket bath. I think we should have to experience washing our clothes by hand. Furthermore, we should have to walk down the street or possibly to the next town over to wait in line and then pull water from a well in order to take care of ourselves and our families. As a society we are so incredibly wasteful with our resources. We leave the water running while we shave, take incredibly long showers and use a washing machine to clean 3 or 4 articles of clothing. I feel like I had other examples that were related to issues besides water consumption but I will have to save those for another day (as I can’t remember them and I REALLY want to get a post out today).
Wrapping things up I’d like to say that my posts are never trying to get political or drastically change anyone’s views in life but if I can caution you to simply think twice about things then I would say it’s worth it.
I will try and make my next post sooner rather than later but in the meantime thank you for reading and trying to be the best person you can be!