I’ve been in Senegal for two days now.  I arrived on time, along with Melissa and Chichi but without one of Melissa’s tubs, one of Chichi’s suitcases and both of my checked luggage.  After figuring out where our luggage was and when it would arrive we were finally able to head to the guest house where we are staying until Monday. 

We had some fresh fruit and eggs for breakfast and then Jatu met us to walk us to the office, about 5-10 min. away from here.  Adorned in our long skirts and for me, the same shirt I’d worn on the flight down from Paris (I had brought one to change into in my carryon.), we headed to the office where we met everyone.  Jatu (jah – too) and Ndeye (n-day) are the assistants to Wyva (why – vah).  We learned basics about living in Dakar, which is the capital of Senegal, like money, greetings, etc.  They speak mainly French here and I’m a bit out of the loop seeing as how my Spanish doesn’t really do me much good here, ya know.

That afternoon, after a traditional Senegalese lunch at the office (in chairs though instead of on the floor) of one common bowl of rice topped with veggies and fish (spicy but good), Jatu and Ndeye gave us a tour of our neighborhood.  The three of us then came home for a long winter’s nap, except that they don’t ever have winter here and there wasn’t the least bit need for a blanket.  A bit (OK, so I slept for 2 ½ hours!)  later we went to the airport to check for luggage.  The plane was 2 hours late! 
So we ate a bit.

Some tidbits about Dakar:

  • Power outages are the norm.
  • Few places and things are really cold except the freezer. (I knew this, it’s just taking a bit to adjust to no AC and lots of sweat, it could be so much worse, really, last night was sorta cool and so cheering to my soul!)
  • I don’t understand the roads here and at one point I couldn’t tell if there were 3, 4 or 5 lanes of traffic going our way.
  • There are goats and horses co-mingling with traffic and pedestrians.
  • There are lots of piles of dirt everywhere.
  • We can only drink filtered water.
  • I have yet to figure out the public toilets.
  • There are few washcloths and paper towels if any.
  • There is a big difference between a ‘converter’ and an ‘adapter’ and you can blow up a hairdryer if you are using the wrong thing.  (never fear, I didn’t actually blow it up, but it did glow a bright red)

  

That’s enough for now.  You have now all of my knowledge.  Don’t you feel empowered? 

A note to myself and each of you, just because you know a few things you still need to be learning.  A little bit of knowledge can almost be more dangerous than knowing nothing.  We can sometimes get too sure of ourselves and find ourselves overstepping boundaries and offending our host culture.

Just beware.

It was a great time at home and I’ll write more later, but I don’t want this to get too long.  I love you all!

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