I have inevitably picked up various turns-of-phrase that will most likely leave the majority of my readers puzzled.  This glossary will hopefully shed some light on unfamiliar words, phrases and acronyms I may sometimes use in this blog.

Wolof / Arabic Terms

Allahu Akbar: God is the greatest

Ba beneen yoon: See you later!

Barki Yallah: Honest to God

Ceeb: Rice

Ceebujen: Senegal’s national dish, consisting of rice, fish, and an assortment of vegetables

Gamou: A celebration of the Prophet’s birthday

Golo: Monkey

Inshallah: God willing

Jakka: neighborhood mosque

Jamm: Peace

Jumaa: central mosque

Lahk: A dish made of millet balls, milk and sugar

Mbahal: A dish of rice, fish and vegetables, the rice resembling the consistency of porridge

Nappkat: Fisherman

Nebadaye: The local name for Moringa oleifera, commonly used to make a leaf sauce called mboom that is eaten with a millet and rice mixture called chiery

Ngente: Baptism

Oyof: Light (versus heavy)

Ramadan: The ninth month of the Muslim year, lasting 30 days, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset

Rekk: Only

Sharet: Horse or donkey drawn cart or rickshaw, commonly used as a means of transportation for short distances

Soppi-soppi: Change

Tabaski / Eid al-Adha: Literally translates to “Festival of Sacrifice”, an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before  God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead

Talibe: A word derived from Arabic that means disciple or follower, it is the term used for a boy who is forced to beg on the streets as part of his Koranic education

Tamkharite: the Islamic New Year, a celebration that involves children cross-dressing, then going from house to house for alms

Toubab: Slang for white person/foreigner. Even African American PVCs sometimes get called this, as do natives who dress and adopt Western styles

Tukeloor: A Fula ethnic group of people engaged primarily in agricultural activity, found primarily in West  Africa. Their population is approximately 27 million across the continent of Africa

Waalo: The traditional title given to the area surrounding the city of Saint Louis, North to the Mauritanian border, and extending east to the city of Dagana

Peace Corps Terms

AgFo: Agro-Forestry program

Ancien: The PCV preceding the current PCV at a particular site

CEM2: Middle school in Senegal

COS: Close of Service, a series of procedures preceding the completion of a PCV’s service, involving report-writing, medical check-ups and a closing conference

Counterpart: The host-country national that each PCV works and interacts with at their specific sites, who gives them cultural and work-related support and guidance for the rest of their service after installation

ET: Early Termination, when a PCT or PCV decides to end their service before the 27-month contract is completed

Formation: Workshop

Installation: A series of meetings with local officials and heads and also when a PCV moves into their new site to begin actual service

IST: In-Service Training, a period of about 2 weeks when a stage gets back together for more technical training after spending 8 to 10 weeks at permanent site

Moringa Oleifera: An exceptionally nutritious tree grown in semi-arid, tropical and sub-tropical areas used to combat malnutrition among children and nursing mothers

PCT: Peace Corps Trainee, what potential PCVs are referred to when they first enter country and go through PST, after which they swear-in as official PCVs upon successful completion approximately 7-12 weeks later

PCV: Peace Corps Volunteer, an individual that ha Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a PCV that has successfully completed their 27 months of service (including PST) s successfully gone through PST and is currently doing service

PST: Pre-Service Training, a 7-12 week period that encompasses intensive daily language, technical and cultural training, plus assorted workshops on safety, medical health and overall well-being

Regional House: Sort of a clubhouse that PCVs can head to every couple of weeks to catch up with other PCVs over a couple of beers and speak English without cultural alienation and repercussion (most of the time)

RPCV: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a PCV that has successfully completed their 27 months of service (including PST)

SAg: Sustainable Agriculture program

SED: Small Enterprise Development program

SENEGAD: Senegal Gender and Development program

Stage: the particular group of people that you arrive in-country with, train with, learn to use a Turkish toilet with, share bowel movement updates with and ultimately swear-in as PCVs with

Staging: A 1-2 day affair in the States where you meet your stage for the first time before arriving in-country, getting paperwork filled up, contracts signed and shots taken, in addition to a  crash course on Peace Corps history, what to expect from service, and the host’s country culture and history

Swear-in: The ceremony usually held at the American Embassy or the American Ambassador’s abode in-country that marks the transition of an individual from PCT to PCV and the official commencement of their 2-year service

Tournee: A tour around a region in order to conduct workshops on a specific topic, like Moringa cultivation, food transformation (turning fresh fruit into dried fruit or juice for sale), or gender and development in Senegal (SENEGAD)

UAg: Urban Agriculture program

WAIST: West Africa Invitational Softball Tournament, a series of softball games that take place in Dakar, played between teams comprised of PCVs from different regions of Senegal, PCVs from other countries in West Africa (the Gambia and Mali, for instance), and schools and clubs from within Dakar.


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