Diarra Pont

Diarra Pont
Diarra Pont: My village in southeastern Senegal, 75km west of Kedougou.
"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.

But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."

-John F. Kennedy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Awa Tourney


Awa Traore is a Senegalese women employed by Peace Corps as a cross cultural facilitator. She is very invested in gender and development, herself coming from a village background in southern Senegal, and succeeded in completing university. In addition to setting up our homestays during pre service training and arranging our cultural orientations, she is very helpful to SeneGAD, our gender and development initiative whose goals are to: educate and provide resources to volunteers on how to incorporate gender and development into their work; implement programs that motivate, educate, and inspire Senegalese women and girls to reach their full potential; and to encourage sustainable change in gender perspectives through collaboration with local communities.

She is available to go to people's villages to hold workshops or speak to communities about a variety of topics including: girls education, early marriage, female genital mutilation, family planning, among other topics. Marielle, arranged for a regional tourney in the Kedougou region. Typically school starts in the beginning of November, although the teachers in my village had not arrived. In our local language of pula fuuta, Awa spoke to the children about the importance of studying, asked them what they wanted to be (often police officers, doctors, teachers, or health post workers), and then directed questions towards parents if they knew this information that their children just shared. A common problem in my community was lack of school supplies, and she stressed how it is not the children's responsibility to get these things, it is the parents. If they chose to have more children, this includes providing for them, not only with livelihood necessities, but as well as educational opportunities. Since school hadn't started the children promised to take out their books from last year, and review material they had learned. They also confirmed that they would study in the afternoons before the sun goes down rather than studying by flashlight, or not at all. It was a really great talk that lasted about two hours (it takes longer to drive out to my village). I think it went really well and am so happy that we were able to arrange this to happen!

Our meeting at the women's group presidents house under a mango tree

Children attentively listening

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