Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Passing the Torch

Yesterday was the last day of de-myst/volunteer visit and the Thies Region decided to celebrate 4 generations of volunteers in style. The Thies region didn't really exist, or at least not in its current strong form, until my group came along. We started organizing lunches in Thies and followed our social gathering with work projects: collaborations and the girls' camp. Top this off with shirts and an appreciation for the finer things in Senegal and you get the current Thies region.

So! To introduce our replacements into this high class living style as well as to their new besties (or at least their newest neighbors), we organized a little get-together. Everyone from the region met at Warang, a liquor distillery, for a tasting of liquors made with local flavors (bissap, ginger, cashew apple, etc.) followed by lunch at a beach front restaurant. The lunch place is FAMOUS for their pizzas, apparently some of the best in Senegal, but somehow their wood burning pizza oven was broken and irreparable (even by a specialist brought in from France), so we had pasta instead. Originally we were supposed to get rice, chicken, and onion sauce but, given that Alyssa and I have PROUDLY gone 2 years without paying for Senegalese food outside of our houses, we weren't going to let that slide. I called to organize alternative options. We settled on two pasta options; I asked for 11 of one and 11 of the other... instead we each got a plate with, from left to right, sauce 1 (carbonara), pasta, sauce 2 (bolognaise)... it was a little odd but kind of brilliant at the same time. After lunch I took my last public transport ride back to site and here I am. I need to spend my final two days packing and saying goodbye to people but I can't help but stall. It's bizarre for the end to actually be almost here. I really can't believe that what has seemed so mundane for two years is the end - I'm trying to remember everything. I need to get a little more packing done tonight but I'll leave you with a picture of the Thies/Dakar region, past, present, and future.

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