|By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 1:44 pm: Edit Post|
Peace Corps Volunteer's Ken Miller's Letters from Senegal
Peace Corps Volunteer's Ken Miller's Letters from Senegal
Kidnapped!!! Kenn Miller Jul 29, 2001 06:58 PDT Bonjour everyone.
First news first;
please send all packages bigger than a shoebox to PCV Kenn Miller BP 2534 Dakar Senegal West Africa
Why; the postoffice is corrupt and charge me overprice for my packages. For example I recieved a shoebox caremail and had to pay about 10 USD for it. It just goes right into his pocket and I can not go off on him or my mail will start disappearing. Each week the rates increase. In PC Dakar it is just a mill so that is not bad and they will let me know if I have a package.
Keep the enevelopes coming to the origial address PCV Kenn Miller BP 71 Louga Senegal West Africa
OK I can not wait to tell everyone about this week. This is the type of week you write a book about and lands up in the Peace Corps memoirs.
OK, it was on this Wednesday and I had arrived into Louga to meet up with my Wolof tutor. Well he was not there again as usual, it would be too much for him to call me and cancel. There is a telecentre in my village but it only receives phone calls. I am 12 K away from his house. So the day started out bad as it is, I decided to go and pick up my second roll of film. I am waiting by the post office and a guy speaking English pulls up to me and asks where I am going. So I tell him in French that I wish to go to the Photo Shop. He ensisted that I speak English since he wants to hear a native speaker.
This guy seemed harmless enough; so I jumped in and we went to the photoshop. Now they told me my photos would be ready around noon. I arrived shortly thereafter and they had closed. Typical of businesses to just close so they can go drink tea or pray whenever they feel like it. So the driver spoke to the guy and found out they will reopen at 3. So he proceeded to drive me back. He told me he worked at the hospital and then he drove up and said I will take you back at 3. I tried to tell him that was ok and I would be fine without my film. I needed to be in Thieneba where our CTC house is located. It is just outside of Thies so a 2-3 hour sept place ride away.
Well he really insisted on taking me back and without my say in the matter we pulled up into the hospital and there I was in his office he was so proud to show me off to all his colleuges; nurses gave me thier numbers and everyone wanted to talk to the new American.
Well then he said he will be right back, he was going to take a shower. I did not wish to be rude; afterall he offered me a free ride in this 120 degree weather. Plus there was airconditioner. I forgot what they did. Well an hour later he came back and then started to tell me all the countries he had been in. See it is natural for me to speak French or Wolof without thinking anymore. He kept insisting English only. Then he told me about his trip to Japan and how well you know, you know what I am saying. What, what are you saying? You know, the japenese do not like you americans you know what I mean eh?
You have to understand Senegalise refuse to be the bearer of bad news and prefer to use indirect communication. Well I knew where he was going at; but I wanted him to say it. Well you know because of you artificial americans you took away their armies and you know hiroshama and nagasaki.
Well I had lost all patience with him, informed him I lived in Columbus Ohio where the pilot who flew the 2nd bomber lives and even seen both bombers and one being in Dayton. I completely lost all patience with him and reminded him that the Jap?nese attacked us and they refused to an uncondional surrender and since there would be more casualities if their homeland was invaded by both forces.
Then our voices had become higher; I have a lot of patience I truely do; but there are just some things I will not let others say about Americans; especially anything about our armed forces. I then told him I was through talking to him and demanded he take me back to the post office. So how is my English now? Did you understand my English?
Then later that day I walked into town to buy some cokes and icecream. I was followed by 7 senegalise teenagers who kept calling me toubab which is just the same as calling a black person something that starts with an N. So, I always ignore them when they say that. Then they started to throw waterbags at me and one hit me on the back of the leg. Well still fresh in my mind my new Enlish speaking friend I turned around; told them how bad they are in French then threw my empty can of coke at the kid who threw his water bag at me.
Well the laughing had stopped and they are not used to White people standing up to them. Especially Peace Corps Volunteers. Yet; you have to set up the example from the start. Same way with the vendors who charge 3 times the rate of the normal price. I love bartering with these people, the one thing that seperates PCVs from NGO non governemental orginizations is that we learn the local languages and find out more about the culture.
Well then I tried to catch a sept place to Thies so I can meet up with other PCVs in my region to clean up our vacation house near Thies: Actually it is a place we put on environmental education programs for the public. At night time it comes a PCV social hang out. I just packed two change of clothes and decided to let the wind take me. So I sat in the sept place for an hour and only one other guy was with me. So I decided to leave the following day. I arrived and did a lot of yard work and helped clean up the place. I have yet to meet a PCV that does not know how to cook. They love me enough to make mine on the side without onions!!
Then we went and visted almost everyones village and stayed I stayed at my friend Chris' house. He has the nicest hut since it is really a house. Chris and I took off for Thies the next day. Well the raining season has started in Thies and we got stuck at least 10 times so we had to push the car out of the mini lakes that were everywhere in wet murky sand. That in my opinion is a true Peace Corps expierence. Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere and having torential rains and lightning filling up the sky!!! Leaving on a whim not knowing what you are going to do. And last night went to a f?te here in Thies and ran into two other PCVs and my old friend teacher from training.
Tomorrow I am heading to Dakar I found out they have an office store similar to Staples; I hope they accept VISA!!! I need to get some solar power into my hut since my new world space radio will be getting internet access soon. Who would have thought I could be in the middle of the subsaharan desert sending emails from my hut?
Well hope all is going well with you;