Since we started planning this trip in February we knew that the trip would not go according to plan. When we said this we were thinking more along the lines of postponed meetings, delays due to border crossing, and an unknown percentage of the children on summer vacation. It turns out that at the least that our plans are changing in a bigger way. Thanks to increasing tension between the US and Mauritania and instability and uncertainty around the upcoming elections it is not easy for citizens of either country to visit the other. The election originally scheduled for June 6th has now been postponed to July 21, with a possible extension to August 4th. Because of all of this we pulled our passports from the Mauritanian Embassy in Washington DC and have shifted our focus.
Our current plan is to move our project to one of several possible locations in Senegal. Senegal provides a number of benefits for us over other countries. One important factor is that our flights are currently scheduled to reach the capital, Dakar, on June 18th. We have not decided on the exact location for our project, but hey our flight doesn't board until Thursday.
The project that the coordinators of the OLPCorps program recommended first is the second year of a program situated in Keur Sadaro, Senegal. The blog for this program involving high school students from San Francisco is available at: http://keursadaro.blogspot.com/. Another possibilty is to work with Peace Corps Volunteers at another location in Senegal. Because of the time crunch in finding a new situation we have been working with the other OLPCorps team that was headed to Mauritania, to find a new site. This team from the University of Miami (http://africaxo.blogspot.com/) has dealt with a lot of the same issues that we have with planning and we look forward to working with them.
Sometimes the best adventures do not end up at their intended destination. With international travel it is likely that we will end up somewhere near the city on our boarding pass, but that could be worlds apart from where we think that we are headed.