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
and the surrounding area. I took some great pictures of Banjul and the coast. Banjul
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.
- The first thing Is to get a good garden going and planted
- Get a tree nursery started and start propagating various types of citrus trees.
- Build a dugout canoe from a tree
- Increase my local language capacity
- Carve from local wood a giant spoon, Salad fork and Bread Knife.
- Dig at least two garden wells
- Any Suggestions????