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Senegal 1 - March 20, 2003

Hello everyone!

I still can't believe it, but i'm actually here in Africa! The group arrived last night after about two days of traveling, so i finally slept well last night and woke up refreshed. It feels a bit like summer camp - we're very pampered, the weather's perfect, nice breeze, and all the people are very friendly. Right now marks my first trip to the city - Thies is a city of about 400,000 people, but the downtown area here is basically just a big market place - hard to give any impressions of the city or country at this point.

In two days they're shipping us off in pairs to villages to live for two days with current volunteers: a site visit to get a feel for what the next two years will be like. The group is 53 people, a lot bigger than i thought, but they are all really great people and that adds to the summer camp feel of it all. It's great after the three-day orientation in Philly and the two day trip to actually arrive in Africa - i was beginning to think that i'd never actually get here. My French is coming back, and here in the city everyone seems to speak it pretty well so it's great to be able to communicate with people. Can't wait to start my language training and learn Wolof and/or another local language. For those of you with maps, my site visit will be in Toumbacounda, in the East - then in some village around there. This has nothing to do with where i finally end up - they'll let me know that pretty soon.

Alright, time's up: hard to write with a French keyboard. So, still alive, having a great time. We're all a bit guilty about being here in la-la land while a war's going on, but it is good to be away from the American media, at least for a while. Miss you all, hope to hear from you soon!

ciao, dave

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