Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, March 21

WAIST

WAIST (or West African Invitational Softball Tournament) is an excellently masked excuse to gather mass amounts of Americans in the biggest city in West Africa for a long weekend of pure debauchery (none of which can be fully described without naming names).

Peace Corps has by far the largest turnout with volunteers coming from Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mauritania, Benin, Gambia, and of course Senegal. But also in attendance are embassy, NGO, and UN workers who work very hard to have American products shipped in for consumption: hot dogs, cheeseburgers, candy bars and other packaged lunch snacks. Booze is available at all hours.

Teams are formed between coworkers and countries, and team uniforms are generated. This year my team of Dakar regional PC volunteers dressed as wrestlers... and accompanying us were teams of cave men, country club members, lumberjack, mimes, bums from unnamed countries, and more. A social league runs a parallel tournament to the more competitive bunch but in the end the trophies are the same size, though neither rest with my team.

Between games, we caught rays of sun and drinks by the pool. Any partying not accomplished by day (pesky game schedule!) is more than made up for at night. A well organized schedule of events scattered across the weekend and Dakar included: open mic night downtown, date auction at the home of the US marines, mingling at the local hotspot, all night dancing at the club on the beach, and culminating in an awards banquet resembling homecoming in both attire and venue (high school gym, I kid you not!).

It’s no wonder why volunteers dream, long for, and anticipate this event throughout the year; reminiscent of Christmas to a 3 year old. A documentary has even been made in homage this time-honored fest. And I too count the days until next February…

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