My final month in Africa...any last questions? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-18-2005, 11:00 AM   #1
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 08:11 PM
My final month in Africa...any last questions?

Yep, after two years that have both flown by and crawled by, my stint in the Peace Corps will soon be over. It’s been an interesting time, full of memories good and bad, experiences hard and marvelous. My first time in Africa but I’m sure not my last time.

As the subject of the less-developed world and Africa in particular comes up with some regularity in threads here, I thought I would throw out the invitation to anyone who is interested to ask me any questions that I might be able to answer or comment on as regards my African experience or volunteering in general. Or, if no one wants to ask anything, I might just post random thoughts, reflections, etc. and bore you all to death.

So, as we say here...bissimilah!
__________________

__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 11:53 AM   #2
An Angel In Devil's Shoes
 
ABEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 18,844
Local Time: 07:11 PM
post some more pictures
__________________

__________________
ABEL is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 11:55 AM   #3
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
coemgen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Black and White Town
Posts: 3,962
Local Time: 08:11 PM
What are your plans when you come back?

How has Africa changed your view of the world?

How do you see this experience influencing your future?

That should do it for now.
__________________
coemgen is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 12:44 PM   #4
Blue Crack Addict
 
U2Girl1978's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: At the altar of the dark star
Posts: 19,374
Local Time: 09:11 PM
Are you still going to do the peace corps?

What are you looking forward to when you get back?
__________________
U2Girl1978 is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 01:42 PM   #5
Refugee
 
stammer476's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,058
Local Time: 10:11 AM
Are you prepared for reverse culture shock?
__________________
stammer476 is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 02:37 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
joyfulgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 16,615
Local Time: 06:11 PM
When can we have coffee?
__________________
joyfulgirl is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
New Yorker
 
Sherry Darling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,857
Local Time: 09:11 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
When can we have coffee?
What she said.

Seriously, the reverse culture-shock was the worst for me. Much harder than I expected, because I didn't expect it to be hard at all. Peace Corps has an actually very impressive career counseling program, for what it's worth.

End of one adventure. Here's to the next one!
__________________
Sherry Darling is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 02:53 PM   #8
Babyface
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 20
Local Time: 01:11 AM
i might be headed over to rwanda for a 2 to 3 year stint to help set up a micro lending operation. i'll be taking my wife and kids. am i crazy?
__________________
softhackle is offline  
Old 11-18-2005, 05:48 PM   #9
Blue Crack Distributor
 
tiny dancer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: small town Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 87,250
Local Time: 01:11 AM
What will you miss the most when you leave?
__________________
Into the heart of a child...
tiny dancer is offline  
Old 11-19-2005, 02:54 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
VertigoGal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: I'm never alone (I'm alone all the time)
Posts: 9,860
Local Time: 08:11 PM
you are my idol.

what are some things you're most proud of accomplishing during your time there, and what frustrated you most that you weren't able to do?

and how is your boyfriend?
__________________
VertigoGal is offline  
Old 11-19-2005, 03:46 PM   #11
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 08:11 PM
Sounds like you had a wonderful experience and I am sure they were happy to have you. It's a huge decision to go there for two years and a huge undertaking as well, but in all your comments, it seems like you really enjoyed it and benefitted from it immeasurably.

Did you manage to travel outside of Mali to other parts of Africa as well? I have family in Namibia, and an uncle who lives there often says that even though he was born in Africa, it's a major culture shock for him to travel from sparsely inhabited desert lands of Namibia to the bustling cities of East Africa, so I'm wondering how Mali compares to any other places you may have gotten a chance to see.

And lastly, welcome back!
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 11-21-2005, 06:24 AM   #12
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 08:11 PM
What are your plans when you come back?
Since my boyfriend got a scholarship to study at a university in the States, I am going to move to the town he will be living in and try to get a job there. My intent is to basically just BE THERE for him and try to help him get adjusted and settled in…it is going to be a huge change for him living in the States, let alone going to school again.

How has Africa changed your view of the world?
It’s hard to quantify this. I’ve thought about it a lot, especially in the past few weeks. I have seen people with very little material resources but who are rich in social grace. The way that people here will share with others, be it inviting a complete passerby to come and eat with them or paying the bus fare for someone sitting next to them, is really a whole different ethos than what I have experienced in the Western world. For example only this morning my taxi driver offered to share his breakfast with me and I had to convince him that I really wasn't hungry.

How do you see this experience influencing your future?
Well, hopefully the linguistic fluency I have gained in French will be an asset that I can use in the future. Also, I am interested in getting into development work as a career, so you could say that I am hoping this experience will serve as a sort of launching point.

Are you still going to do the peace corps?
Um, not quite sure what the question means. Peace Corps is a two year contractual thing. In a week and a half I will have finished that contract and will be considered a “returned peace corps volunteer” or RPCV. I’m sure I’ll still be involved with Peace Corps through the very large RPCV community ( SherryDarling!) and I wouldn’t be opposed to working for the Peace Corps in an administrative role in the future.

What are you looking forward to when you get back?
Cheesecake! Bagels and cream cheese, free local phone calls, ATM machines, overpriced coffee, and cold weather.

Are you prepared for reverse culture shock?
Yes and no. Can one ever be prepared for that? Thankfully, I have previous experience to guide me. I spent the majority of my formative years in Indonesia and had to re-adjust to American culture at the tender age of 16. Looking back I can see that I mucked that up, so at least this time around I know what to expect. Still, in all the time I have travelled since and lived overseas for periods of time, it is always hard to accept the flagrant consumerism and overall “too much”ness of America. To go from a life where I see extreme poverty everywhere to one where people are rich to the point of excess will be hard. What I hate the most about the re-entry experience every time I’ve done it is watching myself slide slowly into the mindset, buying into the lies, getting wrapped up in “things”. I don’t like the person I become when I live in America. It is hard to have clarity of vision, hard to live simply and really hard to see what should be one’s real priorities. I’m really hoping to do better at it this time around.

When can we have coffee?
Anytime you’re ready and willing to get yourself to the DC/North Virginia area.

i might be headed over to rwanda for a 2 to 3 year stint to help set up a micro lending operation. i'll be taking my wife and kids. am i crazy?
No, not at all. I say go for it. I’ve talked to people who have lived in Rwanda and they’ve only had good to say about it. Also, there is a lot of potential in micro-lending so you’d be doing a good thing. Also as a “third culture kid” myself, I think travel and new cultures is a great experience for kids. Best of luck to you in the future!

What will you miss the most when you leave?
Complete strangers being able to greet each other and strike up conversations without being self-conscious.

what are some things you're most proud of accomplishing during your time there, and what frustrated you most that you weren't able to do?
I am proud of the fact that I was able to help my organization open a technology resource center for artisans. I wrote the grant and managed the project, and it is something concrete that I will leave behind that can (and I hope will) continue to help people help themselves. I'm also very proud of the website that I helped make a reality which promotes Malian handcrafts to a larger audience. I'm happy that we were able to organize a craft fair that about 80 artisans participated in. And the thing I am most proud of is seeing the young woman I trained in MS Excel teaching it to another secretary in local language.
A lot of things frustrated me. Looking back I can see a lot of stuff I could have done if I had had the motivation. But at the end of the day, you have to pick your battles and your priorities. You can’t do everything. As much as I’d like to be supervolunteer, I’m not. If I could do it over again, I would probably try to get more involved in the personal lives of my coworkers. As it was I had a boyfriend so that sort of changed the whole dynamic meaning that I had less of a need for social relationships outside of work because I was spending time with him.

and how is your boyfriend?
Hot. Seriously, he’s doing good. It’ll be hard for him to say goodbye to his sister and brothers for four years, but he’ll be alright.

Did you manage to travel outside of Mali to other parts of Africa as well?
One of my biggest regrets is that I really haven’t been able to do much travelling outside of Mali. I was lucky in that I did get to see quite a bit of Mali itself, all the way from Kayes in the west to Timbuktu in the north and the magnificent Dogon Country out east. I did spend a little time in Mauritania by accident (got bumped on a flight and stuck for 3 days!). In a few weeks my boyfriend and I will be travelling by road to Burkina Faso and Ghana, so I am really looking forward to that. From what I’ve heard, Ghana especially is much more advanced and better off than Mali. It’s also Anglophone and I’ve only ever been in Francophone Africa. Should be interesting!
__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
Old 11-21-2005, 06:27 AM   #13
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 08:11 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by ABEL
post some more pictures
I'd love to, but Snapfish deleted all my photos. If I can attach a few directly here on the forum, I will. I don't have very many in electronic format, but it's something I'll work on when I get back to the States.

If this photo shows up, it should be a picture of my parents and my host dad from the training village. When we went to visit them last month they prepared my favorite dish and we ate together (with our hands!)
Attached Thumbnails
mali_132.jpg  
__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
Old 11-21-2005, 12:01 PM   #14
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 05:11 PM
What aspect of society from Africa would you like to see adopted here in the US (or Western countries)?
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 11-21-2005, 12:09 PM   #15
War Child
 
Dulce de Leche's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: London
Posts: 986
Local Time: 02:11 AM
I remember you had posted about your parents accepting your boyfriend b/c of religious differences. Do they know about him now and if so, how did that conversation go/what do they think of the idea of it?
__________________

__________________
Dulce de Leche is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com