Sunday, April 11, 2010
Village Placement...Medina dar Salam
Yesterday I found out where I am spending the next two years of my life. We were all shepherded out to a basketball court with a painting of Senegal and then blind folded and taken to our village sites. We were told to remove our blindfolds and excitedly looked around to see where we were placed and who would be our closest neighbors.
The name of my village is Medina Dar Salam in the Region of Tambacounda (Southeast). It is just outside of Niokola Koba National Park and near a river but I am not sure which river as of yet. Approximately half of my village speaks Pula Futa (the language that I am learning) and half speaks Mandinka. Most people are Muslim but many also have animist beliefs. Peanuts and cotton are the cash crops of my village.
Peace Corps has been in my village since 2000, but the village is still facing three main threats. Good medical care is hard to come by which is currently being addressed. Employment and other ways of producing income are scare. Village cohesion is a problem because eight villages are in the same area with different chiefs and cultures.
I will be living in a compound with a large family. My hut is one room with a thatched roof and cement floor. The village has eight wells but only two are cement lined. Biking will be my main transportation and will be easy with the roads being mostly clay and gravel. I will know more about the village next week after I go visit it so be sure to check back for more information!