Yesterday evening, I went with a few other trainees to the soccer stadium/practice fields to play soccer. When we got there, the local boys quickly told us that we couldn’t play there. Luckily there was a volunteer from Mauritania (the Peace Corps Mauritania program was shut down just a couple days after we got to Senegal, so there are a few PCVs from Mauritania that transferred to Senegal and are going through training with us) with us who could speak the local language and figure out that we actually have to rent the field out for about the equivalent of $30 for 90 minutes. Since there were about 6 of us, we quickly decided that it wasn’t worth that. On our way back to the training center, a couple other volunteers came jogging by, so I decided to join them. I ran around the field 16 times for a little over 30 minutes. I figure that’s around 3.5 miles (the field wasn’t regulation size specifically, but I’m not sure how off it was…), which made me feel really good. Yay for running – and running in the rain at that, since it was sprinkling for the majority of my run.
I walked into Thiès today with some other volunteers and did some shopping: bought soap for my host family so we can wash our hands with soap before we eat; bought sugar and tea as a gift for my host family (since, as I’ve said before, my brother makes great tea); and bought a soccer ball to give to the local kids in my village since they play soccer all the time, but they play with this tiny little plastic ball. And I got a great deal on the ball, which is always exciting (though another Mauritania volunteer did the bartering…I’ll get to that skill level soon enough I suppose).
I’ve been enjoying the Senegalese food thus far, which consists of lots of white rice, dried and salted fish (that is obviously reheated over the wood fire with everything else), and some veggies such as carrots, cabbage, cassava, and eggplant (shoot, lost the alliteration at the end there). This dish is the Senegalese dish and is called ceebu jen (spelling varies a lot). As much as I like this food, it was nice coming back to the training center and having “American” food for dinner, such as fries, mashed potatoes, and a fresh salad! Yes, fresh veggies rocks my socks off. And I got really excited for our garden at the community garden in our village because hopefully we’ll have some fresh veggies ready by the time our training ends. Dreaming of it already… :)
Oh, and we get our cell phones tomorrow, though I honestly really enjoyed being unconnected from the rest of the world for those several days at the village…I’m sure I’ll find a good balance between the “high-tech” technology of a cell phone connecting me to people abroad and the “low-tech” tech of actually talking with people who are physically with me.