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Saturday, March 5, 2016

You're not a PC Senegal volunteer until..

I wrote this article for Peace Corps Senegal's volunteer-only newsletter.  Tally up your points and see how you're doing!  I got 141.

HYGIENE

Ladies Only:

Gents Only:

Gotten braided
1
Grown the most magnificent beard of your life
1
Grown leg/underarm hair at least an inch long
2
Grown hair long enough for a man bun
2
Gotten hennaed
2
Worn jellies
2
Worn locally acquired makeup
3
Worn traditional headwear (scarf, old man hat, etc)
2
Gotten braided with fake hair
3
Shaved with a 25 CFA boutique razor
3

SUBTOTAL:






HYGIENE


Picked your nose in public
1
Not showered for two or more days in a row
1
Gone a week or more without washing your hair
1
Had your hair cut by a volunteer
1
Brushed your teeth with a stick
2
Worn clothes that mice have chewed holes in
2
Picked a temporary outfit out of Senegad because your clothes were dirty and you were too lazy to do laundry, then put it back in the pile unwashed when you were done with it
2
Had a HCN tease you that your feet were too dirty
2
Gotten so sweaty there were white salt stains on your clothes
3
Worn underwear you found in a Fukijai
3
MacGyvered feminine hygiene products in a moment of desperation
4

SUBTOTAL:




MED ISSUES

Forgotten to take your malaria prophylaxis
1
Had diarrhea more than 10 times in one day
2
Taken Cipro
2
Gotten a “gold star”
2
Cut yourself while chopping onions with a knife so dull it could barely cut butter
2
Scratched a mosquito bite which then became infected
2
Gargoyled
3
Gotten schisto
3
Done a MIF kit
3
Bought medication at a pharmacy without med knowing about it
3

SUBTOTAL:



HABITS THAT PROBABLY WON’T CONTINUE BACK HOME

Smallboyed a child to the boutique
1
Paid someone to do your laundry
1
Requested something unnecessary from med just to see if you could get it
1
Taken an extra piece of Thies Training Center fruit for after-bar
1
Gotten news via a breakfast sandwich wrapper (ie world event, celebrity gossip)
2
Eaten plain dry milk powder
2
Eaten a mayonnaise-only breakfast sandwich
2
Casually littered in an inappropriate location (for example, while on vacation in Spain)
2
Shared a crème glas with someone
2
Told someone it looks like they’ve gained weight and meant it as a genuine compliment
2
Chose to eat with your hand rather than with a spoon
2
Called someone a slave, then laughed about it together
3

SUBTOTAL:




ABILITIES

Picked cotton
1
Set all the high scores on Snake to 3000+
1
Carried a bucket of water on your head
1
Can competently make attaya
2
Successfully knocked a baobab fruit off a tree with a thrown stick
2
Held a deep “latrine squat” for longer than 10 minutes
2
Carried firewood on your head
2
Killed a cockroach
2
Milked a cow
2
Danced in front of 100+ people
2
Gave an impromptu speech in front of 50+ people
2
Can sit comfortably on butt with both legs straight out in front of you, back straight, no arms out for support
3
Cooked a meal for your host family
3
Can catch a chicken
3
Without a trap (ie, with a shoe or stick) killed a mouse
3
Have slaughtered an animal
4 (men) 5 (women)
Learned how to program your voicemail
5

SUBTOTAL:



TRANSPORTATION

Ridden on a charrette
1
Asked a HCN to borrow their bike pump
1
Hitchhiked in a private car
1
Biked somewhere with your helmet dangling on your handlebars, just in case
1
Chewed out a garage employee in local language…
1
…then switched to enraged English because your local language wasn’t powerful enough to convey the strength of your wrath
1
…then switched to incoherent shouts and grunts because English wasn’t powerful enough, either
1
Hung off the back of a minicar
1 (men)  2 (women)
Sat on the top of a minicar
2 (men)  3 (women)
Tied something to the back of your bike large enough you needed two people to secure it
2
Been in a 10+ person 7place
2
Fallen asleep on a stranger
2
Had a stranger fall asleep on you
2
Taken a night bus
2
Spent a night in a garage
2
Taken over 12 hours to reach your destination
2
Biked 50K or more in one day
2
Got hit by a moto
2
Hitchhiked in a semi truck
2
Hitchhiked in an NGO car
3
Ferried over the River Gambie
3

SUBTOTAL:



SEEN

The birth of a goat or sheep
1
The boobs of all the women in your compound
1
A baboon
1
A monitor lizard
1
A camel
2
A warthog
2
A hedgehog
2
The birth of a cow
2
Baby mice
2
A snake
3
A lion
3
The birth of a human
3

SUBTOTAL:



INTEGRATION EXPERIENCES

Held a baby less than a day old
1
Gone to a soiree
1
Been given food/drink as a gift
1
Eaten less than 10% of a food item that you’d bought not intending to share it
1
Spent over 3 hours waiting for a meeting
(bonus point in the meeting didn’t happen)
1
Threatened to hit a child
1
Actually hit a child
2
Carried a baby on your back
2
Finished a training, then had one of the participants demand that you do the same training for the same group again
2
Slept in an HCN’s bed with them
2
Fallen asleep on an acquaintance’s mat or seating structure
2
Crashed a wedding or naming ceremony
2
Been given clothing as a gift
2
Been greeted while using your latrine
2
Had a HCN see you naked
2
Been given an animal as a gift
3
Cried in front of a crowd of HCNs
3
Had ears cleaned by HCN
3
Had a baby named after you
3
Kissed an HCN
4

SUBTOTAL



GROSS EXPERIENCES

Been thrown up on by a baby
1
Seen a child openly defecate
1
Stepped in feces
2
Been peed on by an animal
2
Been peed on by a human
2
Been lactated on
3
Been thrown up on by an adult
3
Openly defecated
3

SUBTOTAL:



NOOSING

Been in an acquaintance’s wedding photos just because you’re a toubab
1
Brought out your computer for a village/family movie night
1
Read a 500+ page book
2
Bought a marketplace knockoff, like an Adlais jump suit or Boy Ban sunglasses
2
Bought dressy flip flops, with rhinestones or triangles of colorful plastic
2
Ran out of mandat by the end of the month
2
Spent 600 CFA or more at a village breakfast lady
2
Spent 8,000 CFA or more on a meal (food & drinks)
3
Traveled eight hours or more, just for a party
3

SUBTOTAL



SCORING:

0-50: Do you even go here?
51-100: You've been around the block, once.
101-150: Well-seasoned volunteer
151-200: Mandatory COS!