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Life in Africa

Dafa tang. "It's Hot"

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Hi all, sorry I haven't been able to write! They have kept us busy and the internet cafe is not close to our rooms so I was not able to go last night after dinner.

At the moment I only have 15 minutes to use the computers - everyone else has walked to the resturaunt, but I chose to stay and talk to you! I do have to catch up with them soon because we are going to a concert at the cathedral for some music with traditional instuments.

The flight over was ok - very long flights with long layovers...but it has been worth it!!! The Senegalese people are wonderful and so are all the World View participants, especially Mollie - my roomate.

Since we've arrived our "guides" Josephine, Marianne, and Waly have been very gracious, patient, and fun. Josephine is working on her masters in communications, Marianne is getting her Ph D in American studies (I think), and Waly has a master's in developement for developing counties. They all speak English very well, French, and Wolof, and probably some other native languages but I have not been able to ask them about that yet. Ossenou is another guide, I'm not sure if he is a student...but he is awesome at helping us shop. He gets the best price and won't let us buy if it is not a good price.

When we arrived on Sunday they brought us to our rooms. I met Mollie and we discovered we had a great room with air conditioning and running water. We are among the lucky:) Some do not have AC, and some only have running water occasionally. We are split into two groups since the center here on the University Cheik Anka Diop does not have enough rooms for all of us. Those at the other lodging do not have water, but they have internet in their hotel (go figure - gotta love Africa!!!) Then we went out to a resturant for a big meal, everyone was tired - but we had a great dinner (that helped get us off to a great start). My favorite was the plantains.

On Monday we drove around Dakar in vans for a visual tour - it rained heavily and the roads were flooded. We got wet, but it felt good to be cool. Then we went to some markets - crash couse in bargining in a foriegn language for many of the people who had never been out of the country!!! I'll explain later when I have more time.

Yesterday we visited Goree Island and the Door of No Return, where many slaves were kept to be put into ships to be sent to the Americas - a very powerful experience for everyone in the group. But the island was beautiful, many flowers, and more vendors - they are very aggressive on Goree and they all call you "my sister" , "my brother" There was also a school group there about 500 kids! they were having a blast swiming in the ocean.

Today we visited the high school - I saw one teacher teaching genetics lessons - ABO blood typing and many teaching algebra (all in French). They have 1 small computer lab and a very small library. More stats later. Then we came back to the university for a lecture and wolof lessons.

All right - I'm pushing it gotta run!!! Take care and I hope to get on again before we go to the beach this weekend. I'm not sure if they will have internet there or not.

Posted by TravelingV 10:56 Archived in Senegal Comments (1)

Preparing for the trip

Shopping, pills, and packing - oh my!

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In case you are interested, here is a list of some of the things I've had to do to get ready for this trip...

1. apply for the program via VGCC (Fall '07)
2. figure out where Senegal is, (well I did a little of this first...)
3. interview with the Global Awareness Committee and then with President Parker and VP Ballentine
4. recover from shock of actually getting to go on a World View trip
5. fill out the World View paperwork
6. attend the Spring World View Seminar: Understanding Contemporary Africa in March, 2008
7. find my passport and make sure it was still valid
8. check that my vaccines were up to date: yellow fever (I did have to get an update on this vaccine), Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Polio, as well as regular MMR and DPT vaccines. Get prescription for antimalarial medication.
9. get a cold
10. love my child for giving me a cold
11. worry that the other passengers will shun me because they think I have SARS
12. shop for skirts - Senegal is a muslim country and long skirts are proper attire for women - hey, shopping is shopping right? Oh, while I was buying long skirts I also bought a cool little digitial camera.
13. spend a week figuring out how to use digital camera, and decide that I have to now buy some shirts to go with my new skirts...and maybe some shoes...
14. look for wildlife id books to request via interlibrary loan
15. figure out how to work a travel blog
16. gather items to contribute to the "cultural kits" we will be giving schools we will visit, VGCC gave me a whole box load of folders, pens, pencils, t-shirts, bags, etc..; the Wildlife Resources Commission (I use them for classroom programs) gave me a stack of rulers with NC wildlife and a bag full of pins, and I also gathered information from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences - since I volunteer with them and also use them for classes quite a bit.
17. hire a physics major to figure out how to get all of my new skirts, shirts, camera, toiletries, shoes, books, swimsuit, towel, pens, pencils, t-shirts, folders, rulers, pins, brochures, canvas bags into 1 small suitcase, one carry-on and one "personal item."
18. have small panic attack about leaving my husband and child
19. clean the house (the cure for not wanting to leave husband and child)
20. make photocopies of documents (passport, vaccinations, itinerary, contact numbers)
21. pick up books from library, get excited about birding in Senegal!!!
22. take my first antimalarial pill 1 week before I leave
23. have 1st wierd antimalarial pill induced dream two nights later

Things yet to do...
1. pay bills
2. tell my class that I'm going to be out of town, but I can still "watch" them from afar (I love on line classes :)
3. figure out how to get a snake hook into my suitcase - hmmm, snake hook or deodorant...I hate these tough decisions! (FYI for those who don't know me - I love snakes and hope to get some herp time in while on the trip!)
4. go to the beach (hey, it's our Father's day outing!)
5. finish reading "So Long A Letter" by Mariama Ba - a book written by a Senegalize writer. (oh, I can do that at the beach!)
6. wake up and get to the airport!

Posted by TravelingV 19:02 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (3)

The Traveling Vanguard

Preparing for the trip.

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Hi all, my name is Nikole Zidar and I am a biology instructor at Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina. Our college is a participant of the World View Program at the University of North Carolina. For the past three years, VGCC has sent instructors on World View Trips to Spain, China, and India. I have been applying to represent VGCC on a World View trip for the past two years, and the third time was the charm! I'm going to Senegal this summer, just goes to show that persistance pays off.

Some of the main of the program is to help educators internationalize their schools to prepare students for a more globalized world and work arena. Methods used to help educators include promoting foriegn language training, international travel, and by holding seminars and symposiums focused on promoting international relationships and utilizing cultural understanding in the classroom.

Since I know first hand that not everybody can go on one of these trips, but that many would like to I've decided to keep this travel blog so that Vance-Granville students, faculty and staff (and friends and family) can join me on my journey as a representative of Vance-Granville Community College, a citizen of North Carolina and of the United States. I have named the blog "The Traveling Vanguard" in honor of our school's newly appointed mascot - the Vanguard!

I really hope you all will enjoy the experience of travel (even virtually), and please feel free to communicate with me via this blog, I will work on it whenever I get a chance (well, whenever I have free time that I'm not out chasing snakes or other wildlife!!!)

Disclaimer - This blog will not be for the faint of heart, those without a sense of humor may wish not to proceed.

Disclaimer disclaimer - my students are exempt from the above statements. Even if you do not have a sense of humor you must still proceed to earn your credit!

Posted by TravelingV 21:46 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (6)

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