Sunday, April 17, 2011
Peace Corps Senegal Documentary
In coordination with Peace Corps Senegal and the US Embassy, the major national TV station in Senegal, RTS, recently finished a documentary on Peace Corps Senegal, called "Etre Utile" which means "Being Useful". The documentary briefly chronicles the history of Peace Corps, from its birth at the University of Michigan campus in a 2 a.m. impromptu presidential campaign speechby John F. Kennedy to its expansion and current state with thousands of Volunteers serving in 77 countries around the world. It then moves into the specifics of Peace Corps Senegal: the kinds of Volunteers that serve here, the language, cultural, and technical training we receive when we arrive, etc. The majority of the documentary, though, follows 5 PCVs doing their work, hanging out with family and friends, and talking about their Peace Corps experience. I happened to be one of those PCVs selected to participate in the documentary. The film crew came and filmed me for 2 days back in January. It was stressful and nerve-wracking preparing for their visit – and even worse when they were actually filming – but I think they did an excellent job portraying all aspects of our work and presenting an accurate image of Peace Corps Senegal as an institution as well as Peace Corps Volunteers themselves. The documentary has aired numerous times and has been extremely well received. I have been stopped numerous times in Kaymor and other villages and towns by people that said they saw me on TV. I have also received many phone calls from Senegalese host family members and friends that don’t live in Kaymor saying they watched the documentary. I even received a phone call from a man who works in Dakar but is from a village near Kaymor because he saw the gardening work I was doing and wants to start a garden himself. He apparently has friends in Kaymor and after several phone calls to a few different people he was able to track down my number. He said he has a nice field by his village and would much rather be working out in his field than in Dakar. A few days before the documentary aired on national television, the Ambassador hosted a preview party. Here is a short video from that party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v11nO32xJRM&NR=1 Sorry it’s in French. I think the whole documentary will be posted online at some point for you all to see. I have the French version on my computer, but it’s enormous so I can’t post it myself. RTS is also making an English version, which I will also get when it’s finished.