September 14, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer's Ken Miller's Letters from Senegal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Peace Corps Senegal : The Peace Corps in Senegal: September 14, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer's Ken Miller's Letters from Senegal

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;


Sadness Kenn Miller Nov 02, 2001 08:18 PST Hello everyone,

OK, I am doing just fine here in Senegal. This week was the week for FOT for the new trainees in Thies. I meet the SED volunteer who will be coming to Louga. She comes from Seattle and she is very nice. Je vous presentez Mad. Courtney. (Her name is Courtney). She will be replacing Charlotte as Charlotte leaves in two more weeks. Bye Chacha you will truely be missed. Thus, the title for this subject line.

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer gives one great oppurtunities to meet very interesting people from all sorts of lives. Also, there is a continuous cycle of new volunteers leaving and old ones returning and the occasional one that resigns or has to leave for medical reasons. The cycle happens twice a year and every 6 months volunteers are leaving and being replaced. I have made close friendships with three of such volunteers who will be leaving within the next few weeks.

The first of which is Charlotte. Although we have yet to agree on anything politically, she has definately been there for me. She has shown me all of Louga, introduced me to everyone possible, and has given me advice worth my weight in gold. She will truely be missed. So will her cooking, electricty, jeopardy game partner, real bathroom, a shower, and my own bedroom. She was lucky and had a house.

The other one is Nancy who is in Thies. We were not as close as Charlotte and I, but she also gave me a lot of advice and always offered her house to all volunteers passing through Thies on there way to Dakar or back to their site.

Then there is Tanisha, I spent a week in her village and before hand we had developed quite a lasting friendship. I appreciated her faith and the fellowshipping that we had. I also loved visiting a different part of Senegal and experiencing the Pular culture. Also, meet three Senegalise that lived in Columbus Ohio.

As these three ladies leave and be replaced by others, more life long lasting friendships will come. They will always be remembered for their kindness and selflishness genorisity. I wish you ladies the best on your return home and do not forget about me over here. You all know I love PLAIN MMs and only you will know what life is like over here being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal!

Updates, Well school has started, been busy showing the new volunteer around Louga. I had introduced myself to the English Club here in Louga. There are quite a lot of locals that love to lean English. I have actually been very busy these past few weeks. My PCVL has invited me over for dinner so finally Courtney and I are here in Dakar. Wow, only in Senegal would one travel 5+ hours to just have dinner. Plus, it has been over 2 months since I had been in Dakar.

Safety, I feel everything is fine. I am glad to hear from everyone. I sent out 15 plus letters lately. I really do not have access to internet unless I am in Thies or Dakar. Since my homestay family left Thies, I will not be there much anymore.

I really wish I could reply to each and everyone of you. Yet, honestly this is impossible. I make about $20.00 a week and one hour of I-net cost me $3.00. I have to pay for my food, transportation, and school supplies with this mandote. Thus, please send me your address so I can write a personal letter. I thank everyone that has shown concern for my safety and offered to have me over for dinner or by offering a room for me when I come home.

On that subject, with all the foreign airline companies going bankrupt, I am waiting to purchase my tickets. If I do not come home for the holidays then I will postpone my vacation until a better time.

Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and I feel all is going well for me. I have started to actually get myself into a routine. Now with school starting I have things to keep me busy. I will be going up to the regional house in Njiome (spelling) to celebrate Thanksgiving. I wish I could be home for the holiday. I am already 1/3 of the way to May 6, 2003 my COS date.

Take care,


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Senegal; PCVs in the Field - Senegal



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