Alright people here it goes, the work is beginning You may think, “Hey, hasn’t he been gone for 9 months already?! What has that jerk been up to?!”
If you’re thinking that, stop right there. Things in Senegal move at a different pace and after months of training and now living in my site for the past six months, my language and comfort level in my village is finally at a place where we can get stuff done. The past months have been filled with little conversations about social norms and learning the nuances of my local language…
Who am I kidding, I’ve just trying to convince my villagers that not all Americans live like rap superstars and “No, Barack Obama is just as American as I am.”
That being said I have got some exciting projects that I will attempt to pull off in the next couple of months before I hit my 1 year point, which is quickly approaching. Can you believe it?
The big one on which the volunteers of Kédougou are working is the annual youth leadership camp. That’s what I’m here to write about today.
For so many Americans, including myself, we got a chance to be apart of amazing camps that changed the course of our lives. I know that some of you reading my blog were there at my camps when I was in middle school and high school. Thank you for putting up with me.
Maybe you had the experience at camp learning, making new friends, playing sports, singing songs, and doing the endless other things that a summer camp had to offer.
Now, you realize the social skills, athleticism, creative thinking, and problem solving that those camps were actually instilling in you.
In a antiquated school system with little emphasis outside of the standard lecture scenario, students in Senegal miss out on a lot of amazing opportunities that a lot of us from the western world enjoy. Because of this, Peace Corps Volunteers have decided to coordinate a Youth Leadership Camp for middle school students from around the region this coming March. This may sound simple, but kids never spend a week away from home here (just for fun) and we want to show them a blast while teaching them important life skills and challenging them to think about their futures in a way that many of their parents didn’t have the opportunity.
The camp will have classic team-building activities, life skills session, interactive environmental education activities, career talks, health education sessions, and time to just have fun with other kids during their spring break.
We the volunteers of Kédougou are excited about the camp and are looking forward to giving Senegalese kids from our local communities the chance to experience all the joys and growth experiences that a camp has to offer. Our camp is a Peace Corps Partnership Project, which means that it will be funded by a contribution from the community and by the financial support of donors from around the world.
If you’re interested in participating in this project or in making a donation in honor of a friend or loved one this holiday season, please take a minute to check our project on the Peace Corps website with a secure tax deductible donation page. Maybe you know me, and this may be one of your first opportunities to watch your money go to good use in a project that I can directly oversee for you.
You guys can help make this project come alive for my region and I promise a wonderful blog post with adorable pictures after it happens.
CLICK HERE to check it out.
Hope you are having wonderful holiday get-togethers wherever you are and I’m just gonna leave you with another .gif for good measure.