Photo of Dakar by Olivia Mattews
By Olivia Matthews, MIPP Graduate (2017)
Saturday, 27 Jan, 6:02 p.m.
I just got in from playing football (soccer) with the kids on my street. Needless to say, I’m probably the worst soccer player in the history of our street’s matches but we all had a good time anyway. I’m now currently panting like crazy and my feet look like they’ve seen better days. There’s nothing like a dirt road, a half blown up ball and twenty children to give you the work out of a lifetime.
Last week was an absolute whirlwind. On Sunday morning I flew to Dakar, Senegal on a Travel Duty (TDY) trip. I found out late the previous week that I would need to travel to our Regional Office in Dakar to work on one of our awareness raising and data collection projects, “Aware Migrants”.
It was a short trip of only 3 days, with most of it spent in the office, but I did try every night to explore the city. Dakar is beautiful. It’s directly situated on the North Atlantic Ocean which provides a beautiful sunset. It also was the closest I had been to Canada in 4 and a half months. The official language of Senegal is French so it was a fun challenge to practice my French while I was away.
A surprising aspect of the city was how chilly it got at night. Now, I checked ahead of time and knew that the temperature would go down but unfortunately, I only have 1 light sweater with me in Ghana (because it is seriously, SERIOUSLY unnecessary there – I am always hot). It was so cold at night, there were a few restaurants who brought us blankets while we ate on the patio. It was honestly so nice to feel a little chilly again!
Tuesday, 30 Jan, sometime before dinner
What I didn’t know when I wrote the above blog, is that the upcoming week would be just as much of a whirlwind. I found out at work today that I will be traveling once again on a TDY field mission to the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana. I will be gone from Monday to Sunday week as a colleague and I travel the region providing awareness raising sessions on safe migration in community centers and schools. I’m really looking forward to seeing our work on the ground and being a part of that work. I can assure you that my next and final blog will be about my trip to the field. Stay tuned.