I am a Preventative Health and Environmental Education Volunteer in Senegal (West Africa). My hope is that this blog will not only reflect the experiences and challenges that I encounter, but also provide my family, friends, and others with a new perspective of culture. I hope that my adventures will inspire you to think bigger and open your heart to the world around you.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
To the Unknown
The energy that engulfs a person who it about to embark into the unknown is so strong that at times it feels like you are being sucked into a new dimension of reality. Learning how to control this rush and channel it into a practical and positive manner is a daily challenge. Every moment is intense yet the survival of each second gives new confidence to move forward and embrace the obstacles. Taking one step at a time, even if it’s an inch, and directing all your conscious energy to that moment brings the most amazing freedom. It is this lesson that I am constantly faced with. I will not say it is easy, nor will I say I have mastered it though the glimpses of freedom that I have experienced encourage the continual effort. Meditation, prayer, and yoga have become my lifeline and I am entering a new realm of discovery within myself. I don’t mean to make this sound romantic because it is quite challenging. There are many days that I cry and question my motives, ambitions and goals; however the moments that balance these out are so powerful.
The anticipation leading up to the discovery of our future sights was intense amongst all the trainees. We were blindfolded and left waiting, for what seemed like hours, before we were led to our region that was located with in a large painted map of Senegal on the Training site’s basketball court. We were allowed to talk so we could tell each other where we were, but it was not until we took the blindfolds off, that we were allowed to open our yellow envelopes that contained the information about where we would be living the next two years.
(see video link)
We will be going to our sights next week to visit for a couple days and will have the opportunity to meet volunteers who will be near our villages. My closest neighbor is Oliva Kenna and according to some of the volunteers, she is awesome, I can’t wait to meet her. I am pretty excited and know that this is the place I am supposed to be. I have a great feeling about this and though it is scary, I am very excited. One of my fellow trainees, Rachel, has her sight very close to me. We are both very passionate about encouraging gender equality and working with girls. Our intention is to start a soccer program for girls and possibly incorporate yoga and volleyball. We plan to work with SENEGAD. http://senegad.org/ This is an organization that works with Gender awareness. It was started by Peace Corps but is partnered with the NGO 10,000 Girls. One of the programs that they do is giving out scholarships for girls. In the last blog entry I talked about my frustrations with the gender roles. After finding out about this program, I am very inspired to get involved and work in this field. My health assignment will be my main project, but this will definitely be my passion. Some of the other work I will be doing consists of helping the local health post by encouraging baby weighing, vaccinations, and sanitation activities. More to be said about these projects at later date! For now its about enjoying training (which is possible) and practicing my language. Thanks for all your support, love you all!