Entry Date: 2/11/2012
Author: Marielle Goyette, Peace Corps Volunteer
After two weeks together, our team has perfected our morning ritual of waking up, stirring our instant coffee, and making peanut butter and banana sandwiches on fresh village bread. Before breakfast, Andrew met with Dr. Ndiaye, the chief doctor of the Saraya district, to further discuss planning for the coming year. Over the past week, we’ve had some productive meetings with the Saraya hospital staff and are piecing together a solid plan for this year.
Following breakfast, we all loaded into an old, colorful van, which we Peace Corps volunteers affectionately refer to as an Alham (short for Alhamdulillah, written on the front and back of the van). Alhamdulillah is an Arabic phrase that translates to “Praise to God”, and we praise to God every time we make it to our destination in these vehicles since they frequently break down or fall apart during the course of the voyage.
Thankfully, we made it to Kedougou without any hiccups! We arrived at the Peace Corps Regional House and spent the day working on reports and compiling notes from our meetings in Saraya. After eating a “Peace Corps lunch” of tuna and crackers, we decided to splurge on a pizza dinner at a local restaurant. We enjoyed a relaxing evening of swapping Peace Corps volunteer and medical resident stories. Different worlds, but equally hilarious tales from the field.
In a couple of days, the remaining peacecare team (Andrew, Nate, and Magda), will be headed up to Dakar for some meetings and then will be flying back to the States. I’ve really enjoyed working with them, and I’m excited for their next visit!
I’m a health volunteer and have been in Senegal for almost a year now. So far, I’ve had a wonderful experience living in the small village of Nafadji, about 30k south of Saraya. If you’re interested in reading about my volunteer service so far, feel free to check out my blog (http://marielleinsenegal.blogspot.com).
Before peacecare’s next visit, Larocha and I will be working on organizing more VIA trainings for midwives and nurses, and the hospital staff will continue to do screenings in villages throughout the region of Kedougou. The more data we can collect, the better. It’s been exciting to work on the cervical cancer prevention project with peacecare, and I look forward to seeing the team again later this year!