Gorée Island, Senegal

I’ve made such good friends in Dakar. Friends I hope will be around for years to come. A couple weeks ago these friends and I made the trip to Gorée Island. The night before I began to prepare to feel a sadness similar to my previous visits to Robben Island or DC’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. I know visiting these places makes us all sad in remembrance of  irrational suffering but…I don’t know…I just get so sad.

This time however, I was not sad. There was something so infuriating about hearing our tour guide explain colonial history that made me see an especially deep shade of red. I know he had to be trained to retell the history with a certain upbeatness but I just wanted him to be as angry as I was. And maybe he was.

While visiting Robben Island in South Africa I remember a group mate asking our guide (who I vaguely remember was a previous political prisoner in Robben Island) how he felt about giving these tours. He confessed his torment when he was initially hired and  how he found peace in sharing a story that needed to be told of acts that we all pray will never be repeated.

I wonder where our tour guide lies on the anger spectrum of having to retell this history.

In complete opposition of the treatment of slaves, the island was beautiful and in compete opposition of my anger I giggled when I spotted “thug life” twice.

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Swahili Isn’t Helping Me Here

In the months since my last post I have completed my 2 year Peace Corps service in Kenya, went home for 6 weeks to visit friends and family in 4 states, and moved to Dakar, Senegal where I have lived for nearly 1 month in my Peace Corps Response position as the Communications and Media manager for the Stomp out Malaria Initiative.

What a whirlwind…huh?

I’m really excited about this new adventure. And I’m really excited about blogging differently. While in Kenya, I created my blog to keep my friends and family updated on projects, after my visit it home it is clear that my friends and family must make up 1% of my readership. Without the pressure of updates I feel free to write more about what I’m feeling, and I am feeling a lot. You will still here about my projects, my travels…you know my experience but this time, my WHOLE experience.

Eeek I don’t even have a photo to include in this post. It’s clearly time to take my camera out to capture this beautiful place.

Check back soon.

I Was Selected for Stomp Out Malaria

I’m writing with complete disregard for a timeline. Forgive me. The following recap happened in August/September.

Malaria is not often the disease you hear about in Sub-Saharan Africa but it is the cause of more than 650,000 deaths per year are, with 90-91% of those deaths happening in Sub-Saharan Africa. I had a friend who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin. During her service she participated in the Stomp Out Malaria training and malaria prevention became a focus of her work. I knew then, before my service started that I wanted to work on this cause.

So I kinda had a “personal legend” moment as written in The Alchemist where the universe conspired to bring this goal to fruition. My closest  volunteer primarily focused on malaria prevention projects and often included me. She was selected for the Stomp Out Malaria training and the following year offered amazing advice when I submitted my interest.

In June it was confirmed that I was one of three selected to participate in the September training.

As you may recall I wrote a recap of the first day of training for the Stomp Out Malaria blog.

The experience exceeded my expectations. I met volunteers and other PCVs from all over the continent. Our trainings were conducted by the experts and thought leaders of their field. I returned to Kenya with a new spark and energy to coordinate our volunteers to make an impact around this issue.

I also, fell in LOVE with Senegal. It was an amazing country with delicious food and a the beautiful sound of french in the air. I hope my path crosses again with this country.

Here are some pictures from my time in Senegal.

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