The Meeting

Guediawaye Travel Blog

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After two days, I finally got the routine. Things only get interesting at the World Vision offices after two in the afternoon. You'd think I would have gotten it by now. But no. I arrive early and wait. No surprises there. Waiting. So that was my morning.

I know that this has to be my last day at World Vision. It's Thursday, and my practicum in due Monday. I have a paper and presentation to finish. Plus editing photos on Photoshop is going to take time on slow computers. And in all actuality, the power is going to cut down my work time by 24 hours or so.

It's my last chance to ask questions and gather information. I finally get the guts up to formulate my questions in French and ask them. A few questions for Yvette led from one thing to another. Before I knew it, she was telling me all about a National Day for Talibes that they sponsored, and I was reading VITALIS projection and budgeting documents.

Soon, our lunch of ceebu jen was brought in the office and placed on Yvette's desk. I'm starving and start digging in with my hands (or right hand). The other women in the room, either occupied or just unattentive, don't seem to mind that I prayed already and started. Mme Kabou comes in with a handful of spoons and bursts out laughing. Apparently I started before I was supposed to. A bit over enthusiastic to eat.

By 3:00 we are out the door and on our way to Guediawaye. I really didn't understand where exactly we were going or why we were going there, but I found out soon enough. We arrive not at a daara, but at a tall building with shops on the bottom floor. We climb the stairs and head into a Guediawaye local governement office. I believe it was the Ministry of Society and Family Solidarity.

I am ushered into a room full of desks, seated in a chair, and given a plastic cup of pineapple juice. On the walls were cartoon PSAs advocating the fair treatment and advocacy of women as well as giving children of both genders equal opportunities.

We all sit in a circle in the outer hall as more and more marabouts begin arriving. I figure it out. The marabouts, other Islamic leaders, and some local government officials were coming together to discuss VITALIS and their goals for the daaras. The entire meeting was conducted in Wolof, so I didn't understand a word of it, but I was still extremely interesting to watch.

It was so cool to see how some of the marabouts would raise questions and how animated they would get, waving their hands and arms, when pushing important issues. I would hear, "blah, blah, blah, blah, VITALIS, blah, blah, blah, blah, World Vision, blah, blah..." It was hard to get the jist of what was going on.

After the meeting, I shared a silent taxi ride back into town with Yvette. I wanted to initiate converstation, but it was so awkward, and I just didn't have the energy for it. So she justed hummed hymns and I enjoyed the view from the window.

The final problem - they're expecting to see me again tomorrow. So I have to come up with an excuse to get out EARLY. I have to get to Suffolk to use the computers before the weekend.
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Guediawaye