We’ve been having beautiful weather lately. It’s quite cool and “fresh”, as they say here. It’s generally between 18 to 25 degrees, with a lovely breeze. We hear that it starts warming up in May and becomes quite hot in August, so we still have a few months left of this gorgeous weather. It’s also sunny for 11 to 12 hours a day, so we’re enjoying that much more than the few hours of sun that you might get back in southern Ontario.
We had our first curriculum committee meeting and it went quite well. Jessica was able to lead the meeting in French; the first such challenge. We discussed that we are here to help them make any changes that the educators or supervisors feel would be better for the program. There did not seem to be any push-back from any of the members (there are 8 of us in the committee) which was very encouraging. We had also reformatted the first few sessions, added several new activities, and reorganized the activities and lessons in order to give them an example of how we could make changes. While they did not like all of the changes, they loved the new, easier-to-read format, as well as the reordering of certain lessons. This was a great encouragement to us as we weren’t sure how they would take our suggestions. We are now set-up to meet for about 2 to 3 hours each week on Tuesdays. As there are 48 sessions, we are hoping to get through 4 sessions each meeting. That way, we will have time to retrain the educators before the next year of lessons starts in December. Please pray that not only our Wolof, but also our French (both oral and written) become much better so that it is easier to communicate with our colleagues as well as the people who we meet at our home. We especially find it hard after speaking a lot of English when teams from the U.S. stay at our place. While it is very nice to feel more at home with people who have a similar culture and the same language, it does make speaking French and Wolof much more difficult.
In regards to our new cultural experiences, we were able to visit Lac Rose which is not far from where we live. It is very salty (you can float on top of it, just like the Dead Sea) and hence, there are people who collect the salt in order to sell it and make a living. At certain times, it also turns pink due to the plant life that lives in the lake. When we visited, it was pink and definitely a favourite out of the things we’ve seen so far. However, while there, we also experienced something that we had read about. There were vendors trying to sell their wares by following us around and speaking to us in Wolof, French, Spanish, and English. Even after telling them that we weren’t interested and had to leave soon, they continued to follow us very closely and tried to take pictures of us and put bracelets on our wrists. Apparently this happens at many markets and tourist locations, however, it was the first time that we had experienced it. While not frightening, it wasn’t exactly a peaceful way to enjoy the pink lake.
All in all, things are moving along quite smoothly in regards to work and living in Malika. As mentioned before, prayer for our language development would be greatly appreciated. We would also be thankful if you prayed for continued cooperation with the curriculum committee and that we are able to make changes to the program that will not only update it, but make it more enjoyable for the educators and the participants.