Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas In Kaolack!

Christmas this year was spent in Kaolack with just a handful of other lovely PCVs. Here's what went down:

1. Xmas Eve: Teresa made up a filling potato soup with garlic bread made by Emily. This was followed by mulled wine and prank phone calls in Wolof to other PCVs in country.
2. Xmas day Brunch: Scrambled eggs, chocolate chip pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and fruit salad.
3. Afternoon relaxation - that's really all it was...
4. Xmas Dinner: Salad with Ranch dressing and Bacon bits, Mac N Cheese, apple crisp with ice cream. Holy crap it was amazing!

*Special thanks to Teresa's loving family for sending special commodities like ranch and bacon bits, things not readily available here in Senegal.

I was also able to call most of my close friends and family thanks to the powers of internet and skype.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God bless all!

Byron Yee
Peace Corps Volunteer - Senegal, 2009

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Inner Service Training (IST)

Not me this time, the tables have turned and for once I was on the teacher/advisor side of things. The last two weeks were IST for the newest set of PCVs in Senegal. I was invited to come for a couple days and share my knowledge and experiences with the trainees.

Its funny to think that after one measly, we're now the "experts." Well, the sharing of knowledge and experiences is what contributes to the success of all of us and our work. So best of luck to the newbies and to their next two years of service and hard work. You guys are gonna rock!

Byron Yee
Peace Corps Volunteer - Senegal, 2009

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Language story

The other day, I was visiting Cail and there is a French couple staying at the same campement. My interaction with them consisted of the following conversation:

Note - This was just after a cat had killed and was eating a lizard.
Me: Euh, qu'est-ce qu'il s'appelle en fran├žais?
Femme: Le chat
Me: Non, l'autre animale.
Femme: Le lizard.

Now, those who have taken French know that "le chat" is one of the first basic vocab words learned in class. So I felt a bit dumb/insulted after this event, but my friends got a good laugh out of it.

The real question is - "Qui est le plus stupide?"
Me, for coming across as not a good french speaker? (True).
Or the lady, for assuming I'm dumb, therefore fulfilling the stereotypical French attitude towards Americans? (Also true)

Byron Yee
Peace Corps Volunteer - Senegal, 2009

Saturday, December 4, 2010

West African All Volunteer Conference - Dec 2010

Senegal, being the western most point Africa and being one of the coolest and most accessible countries, just hosted its 2nd All Volunteer conference.

It was a 2.5 day event including lectures, discussions, tech demos, and lots of socialization. For the first time in months, I dressed up - meaning wearing hole-less pants and a clean button up shirt.

Special thanks to our visitors from Togo, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, and Mali...Keep up the good work everyone!

Byron Yee
Peace Corps Volunteer - Senegal, 2009

bii mu classo Mandinka kano le ti

"Today is Mandinka language class."

Cassie, Cail, and I spent four days in an intensive Mandinka language seminar. It was a bit overwhelming as we covered all the grammar and lots of vocab in a very short amount of time. But this is important as over 1/2 of my town speaks mandinka, as well as a majority of the community co op I'm working with, as well as Cassie's nearby town.

So this makes my...3rd Senegalese language? I'm losing count, and can't figure out which language to count in.

Byron Yee
Peace Corps Volunteer - Senegal, 2009