Saturday, March 12, 2011

PCV Mike

I have finally done it. I made it through my 9.6 weeks of training and now have become an official Peace Corps Volunteer.  Friday we went to the ambassador’s residence and had a very nice ceremony, and we took the oath as a group and receive our certificates.  The ambassador spoke and gave us a few words of inspiration from her own Peace Corps experience.  The country director spoke along with a few other people. 

I now have a couple days of classes then shopping for supplies that I will need in my new mud hut.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It is Official!!

It’s official!  I have become competent enough in Mandinka to satisfy the Peace Corps requirements.  I had my final evaluation yesterday and it went well. This means that I will swear in later this morning, and now when you send those care packages you can put PCV after my name and not PCT.

Yesterday we were tourist and visited the national museum and the giant Arch 22.  Both the museum and the arch were terrific.  The museum really shows a lot about The Gambia’s past and history.  As a group we got to make the trek up the spiral staircase to the top of the arch and got to see an amazing view of Banjul and the surrounding area.  I took some great pictures of Banjul and the coast. 

I also obtained my first piece of African art yesterday.  It is about the size of a piece paper and it is painted on canvas stretched over wood.  I will try and get some pictures up in the next day or two to show how breath takingly beautiful it is.

Starting Tuesday I begin phase II, which is also known as “The Three Month Challenge.”  This is when new volunteers are suppose to really integrate into the village they are staying in and get to know the people.  During the next three months I will try to learn about the needs of the community and evaluate how I can help to motivate community members and show them ways to obtain those goals.  The Peace Corps is not a development agency, they are in the business of capacity building and I am just a facilitator.  The Peace Corps also strongly encourages during this time that volunteers don’t leave their sites for recreational travel, only for going to the market and getting supplies. 

A few things that I want to accomplish during this time are both productive and some are just selfish and unproductive some people might read the list and think the list below is just to fulfill my short term hobby addiction.  In no particular order.

  1. The first thing Is to get a good garden going and planted
  2. Get a tree nursery started and start propagating various types of citrus trees.
  3. Build a dugout canoe from a tree
  4. Increase my local language capacity
  5. Carve from local wood a giant spoon, Salad fork and Bread Knife.
  6. Dig at least two garden wells
  7. Any Suggestions????

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I finally got some pictures up on the blog, I put them on my photobucket site.  I think there are about a dozen pictures.  They are on the lower right side of the blog.  I also have a link on the lower left side of the blog of a few other Peace Corps peoples blog

Friday, March 4, 2011

My new Gambian home

I have just returned from four days visiting my site and village that I will be spending the next two years at.  The village is small but I like it and I am excited about being a member of the village.  They have a large community forest and garden.  The garden is amazing, you walk through a forest and it opens up to a picture out of Jurassic Park; Rolling green hills with large trees and exotic birds flying around.  When I first saw it I stopped and reminded myself that I am not dreaming. I am in Africa; this is something that I have found myself doing repeatedly since I have stepped off of the plane.  

What I will be calling home for the next two days has two large rooms.  The backyard is brand new, which means the pit latrine is brand new which means no bad smell or flies.  There is enough room to do a lot of planting and growing of random plants and trees.  I also have a three foot tall banana tree.  The only down side of my new house is the brand new corrugated tin metal that they use to fence in the bathroom/showering area, It will be hot come the rainy season.

I will be in “town,” for the next ten days.  I use the term “town” loosely; it really means I will be around a computer during this time so I should be able to respond to e-mails promptly.  I also am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get some pictures up.