Month: September 2012

A’salaam malekum! Peace be with you!

Loaded down like this, I waddled through customs.


The humidity hit me and my camera’s lens with a big puff of dirty, hot air straight off the plane

Outside the airport we were greeted by enthusiastic Peace Corps-ers and shuttled to Thiès as the sun was coming up. After the hour bus ride and overnight flight, I was exhausted, but meandering cows in the metropolis Dakar, some 80s-esque French/Wolof music on the radio station, and some cool street art and tags stand out in my memory.

That day was a blur of sessions, small talk, a nap, and a seminar on how to use a Turkish toilet.  This is how we eat lunch, and how we will be eating

 When you get fish bones, in your mouth, just let them fall out onto the

on the mat, shoes off, spoons in!

mat! Also, spoons are quite optional.

When we finally were able to hit the sack, I fell asleep faster than I could have hoped. I awoke in the night to a powerful rainstorm, the doors slamming open and shut in our room, and laying in bed looking up at the mosquito net was all pretty surreal.

The next day, we walked into Thiès for the first time, and it was mind-blowing. Although we had only been in the compound for 2 days, it felt like indefinite period of time – an indefinite bubble of American food, people, smells and references, with designated Senegalese knowledge, language and cultural training thrown in spurts now and then. Walking down the crowded market, stepping out of the way of taxis going everywhere, having a few kids begging beside you –it was overwhelming. In the training center, it’s hard for me to visualize the Senegal I’m learning about.


The Infamous Packing List

Yet another packing list.

Pelican Laptop Case

  • Macbook
  • Ipod
  • 2 USBs
  • Camera card reader
  • various plug ins/cords


  • bandanas
  • 2 Waterbottles
  • hand crank flashlight (weak)
  • headlamp
  • NOOK in case
  • little address book (from Leah 🙂
  • 2 pairs earbuds
  • 2 chapsticks
  • 1 memory card
  • 1 pencil sharpener
  • sunglasses
  • snacks (cliffs, fiber ones, cocoa almonds)
  • 2 macbook chargers (one barely works)
  • photos (from Caety 🙂
  • bike bell
  • external harddrive
  • 4 thin books (poetry, crosswords)
  • rechargable batteries, charger, and batteries
  • files, photos, paperwork

Giant roller bag

  • tent
  • hammock and straps
  • gold bond
  • 2 combo locks
  • earplugs
  • adapter & converter
  • harmonica
  • razor & cartridges
  • chacos
  • shower shoes
  • old & new tennies
  • work gloves
  • duct tape
  • hammer/screwdrivers gizmo
  • dress flats
  • DEET
  • French press, tea, and coffee from Rim to RIm (my friend Tim!)
  • scarf
  • yoga mat
  • cards and stamps
  • prescriptions
  • food (spices/sauces, gummy worms, nutella, dove chocos, parmesan, velveeta, yummmmm 🙂
  • baseball cap
  • PT band

Giant Backpack

  • zip bag
  • quick drying towel
  • seeds
  • scrabble tiles & cards
  • french phrase book
  • senegal flag
  • toiletries
  • a bunch of clothes

Startin’ A Blog!

I’ve been invited with the Peace Corps to volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, as an Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Extension Agent!

“Well, Hannah, what will you be doing?” I am often asked. My response is generally some blundering sentence incorporating the terms food security, sustainable development, and site evaluation.The way I see it, if it’s related to plants, animals, or the soil, it’s in the mix. So check back on that one…

Tomorrow morning after a quick Pancake Pantry feast, I’ll be flying to D.C. @natreb. Then our training stage will hop over to Senegal on September 26th to begin 9 weeks intense language (and some cultural, technical) training in and around Thiès.

This post marks my first venture into blogdom! Wabam.