Living the life

I have returned to Thies, and thus back to wifi!  The past 11 days we have spent living with our temporary homestay families, eating, learning the language, and watering our garden.  I’m really loving my site and family, so here’s some more details about CBT and some pictures.

My CBT family is quite small, in comparison to other trainees’, with only 3 children living at home as well as my two parents.  My Dad, O, works at a mine nearby.  My Mom, N, is a stay-at-home-mom who is always busy, but also always has time for my questions!  She is a great cook and has been teaching me how to cook, sort of.   Usually all I’m given to do is pound some spices, garlic, and onions in a big wooden mortar and pestle, but I’m learning lots of food words!


— My sister D pounding spices and onions in a mortar and pestle —

I have 2 sisters and one brother.  D is 14, K is 21, and M is 10.  They are all wonderful and even know a little English and French – which is helpful when I’m floundering in Wolof! D is always down to chip in with my laundry, or help me with language, or laugh together at hilarious telenovelas.  M bounces and dances around the house and likes to laugh with me as I attempt to do laundry.  K is so fashionable and goes to college in Dakar (I think).


Here’s a little run-down of my daily schedule at CBT:

8:00 – wake up and shower

8:30/8:45 – breakfast of bread and chocolate spread/butter/sometimes scrambled eggs

9:30 – language class

1:30/2:00 – back home for lunch, usually chebu jenn or mafe or another rice + sauce dish

2:30/3:00 – naptime!

4:00 – back to class and or garden work

7:00 – sundown = back home

8:30/9:00 – dinner, beans and bread, pasta and bread, fish and onion sauce and bread….

10:00/10:30 – bedtime


Our language class is just 2 of us and our LCF (language and culture facilitator), so it’s been great for learning Wolof.  We spend a lot of time speaking and and learning all the different pronouns.  We also talk to almost everyone we see on the street, so that’s been good as well!  Greeting is hugely important, so I repeat a litany of greetings multiple times a day with different vendors I’m getting to know and family members of other trainees.  I’m grasping the language more and more every day, or at least I think I am!  I can more of what people on the street are saying as we try to communicate, so that’s good!

The other component of our CBT stays is technical practice in the garden.  The last stay was just a lot of back-breaking digging of garden beds – with a pick-axe.  This time around, however, we planted some lovely little seedlings, garden seeds, and some field crops.  A good portion of the transplants didn’t survive the shock and heat, but a few hardy souls made it through!


— A slightly fuzzy picture of our sprouting bissap, hibiscus, plants —


— Green peppers, an empty space where we planted carrot seeds, and bitter tomatoes —



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