Thursday, September 30, 2010


i did a bad thing.
but also in the long run it was really ok.

after my day with cherif (fear not i will explain that) i came home around 8 at night and i think yaay was pissed at me because i didnt tell her i would be so late ( i also didnt bother to tell her i was with a beautiful man hence the lateness) so i was served dinner alone. i was fine with it but it was french fries on a bed of fried and oily onions and that chunk of fat that has a little meat on it. so i was eating by candlelight because of course the power was out and i just thought i really cant eat this fat. i just cant do it today. so because i was alone i ran into my room, grabbed a plastic bag and being extremely stealth, put the meat in the bag, tied it and then put the meat under my bed. i brought it to school the next day and then threw it away.
sarah-1 - meat fat-0
(except actually its like sarah -1 meat fat 7)

ok so my day with cherif.
he waited for me to get out of class and then asked if i still wanted to go surfing. i said HECK YES I DO. so then he took me to his "secret" beach where he surfs with his bros all the time. and i got to meet all of them and then we drank tea and looked like a bunch of surf bums. except he took one look at the waves and said no way. the weather had been bad all day so they were pretty big and he said he would rather i not die the first time i try to surf so there was no surfing but i am alright because he said as soon as we can go we will go.
so we hung out with these friends for a little, i impressed them with my wolof and then cherif and i went for a walk along some rocks looking for sea urchins. we found some...did you know they breathe/move?? sick. they are sick. but it was cute.
then we decided to walk to the other side of this point we were on and we watched surfers and talked and talked and talked. we talked about everything. what we like to do, favorite foods, simple living, surfing, books, music everything. it was fantastic. also the sun kept hitting him at just the right angle and sometimes i think he was glowing.
we started walking home around 7ish and it was SO hot and then he randomly stopped at this boutique to get a coffee and i told him he was crazy because hello i am losing all my body's supply of water out of my pores and he said no no it doesnt matter how hot it is just think about how good the coffee is. its so good and that makes you forget how hot you are. words of wisdom i tell you. what a gem
after 4 perfect hours i went home....hid the fat under my bed and then experienced the best windstorm of my life. i went up to the roof but then i realized that the electrical wires were moving a little more than i would like them too so i went back down.

also i am leaving for fall break. so i wont be writing until next saturday/sunday/monday because we are going to a town called mbour and traveling around a bit. ok so love you all bye.

oh also this is what i wrote in my journal this morning:
"you know you probably have malaria when you find 4 mosquitoes inside your net when you wake up and they are all full of blood when you kill them"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

just another average day.

except nope. not at all.

this morning i woke up...trekked through the house to get to the bathroom and opened the door to go outside when I stumbled across our pet sheep who apparently came untied during the night. he was sitting right in front of the door, which reminded me of my dog fiona because she conveniently sits in the worst places possible. anyways i stand and look at the sheep for about two minutes and decide what to do (they have been known to ram people with their horns because they have large horns). so i decide to grab one of these large horns to coerse it away from me. nope. don't do that. it "baaad" at me and then jerked its head back. then i decided to yell wolof words at it. then french. then it worked and it stood up stretched and mozied away from the door.

good morning world .

toubab dialaw was wonderful. a perfect mini vacation with beach sun sand surf seashells sunburn and all that. we were lounging hard in hammocks and on lounge chairs that overlooked the ocean. also (plug for eco friendly living) the "hotel" we were at is run on solar power and they do a lot of conservation work with water and so on and so forth. i was a fan needless to say.

yesterday we had our first language club meeting (this is what i have my partner cherif for) and it was so fun cause a few ciee students just sat in a circle under some palm trees talking with suffolk students and balblaa it was great.
cherif lives in ouakam so he said he would go home with me (no mom, not in that way) so cherif 2 other people and myself walked home/took a car rapide. cherif and i got to talk a lot and he is not only stunningly gorgeous but he also has a great mind so COOL i am in love with my language partner.
also he has a moped. and you've got to be kidding me. he is taking me for a ride soon.
and today we are going surfing. it is my first surf lesson and we are going back to ngor to do so.
all my dreams are coming true in one day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"he's on vacation"

sometimes i think my yaay drinks when no one is watching.
for example today.
i come out of my room or into the house whatever and she throws her hands in the air and yells "ROKAYA NDOYE" (my full senegalese name)and she just laughs and laughs and i dont know why but i laugh too and everything is nice that way.

also tomorrow we are going to a tropical getaway called toubab dialaw. its one of our ciee excursions and literally we are just chilling hard on a beach for 2 days

so what im saying is i will see you in 2 days and i will be tan hopefully.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

surfing gnifrus

so we have finally found our language partners. good day. our partners are suffolk students who ciee (americans) students get paired with to practice speaking french wolof and english. it was a mad rush to get partners. this is literally how it happened:

eli (suffolk) students were sitting on one side of the room. ciee students were on the other side. the girl leading the group, therese, said "ok get up and find a partner. GO" cool because i felt like cattle being herded around the room but it was also exhilarating with people grabbing everyone and trying to find a partner they liked. it was the kind of thing where if you make eye contact with someone you are most likely his or her partner. so i made eye contact with this guy a few people away he held out his hand, i grabbed it and he pulled me towards the front of the room.
i am not upset.
let me tell you about cherif.
he is a former model.
he doesnt check his email that often because he is "surfing at the beach whenever he has free time" but i can call him anytime.
he speaks perfect english, so he really doesnt need me but we are still partners.
he is going for a law degree (hint to greenhouse girls)

also he is going to teach me how to surf and we are going to have our language meetings on a surfboard sometimes. 
he found an opportunity to lift up his shirt and show me the kind of scars i could potentially get. again....i was not upset.
so maybe i will learn to speak a little more french and wolof or maybe i will be a pro surfer by the time i come home.
also if you were to look up the definition of chiseled it would be: cherif diagne, sarah holbrook's language partner

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

take a look

i know this is really small so sorry but this is a panoramic picture of our secret island. if you can see, there is a storm coming in on the right and to the left there is still blue sky. we got to watch the whole thing.

magic i tell you.
fred weasley would be proud

pine sap

i have officially become a sap.
and good things, i mean really good and lovely things are making me cry and i don't know what's happening to me.

examples/ how i realized this:
the other day our director gave me a packet of good earth tea. (only my favorite kind no big deal that it was in senegal)
i made it with my baguette this morning and it was so good and smelled so spicy and was the essence of tastiness that i started to tear. just me and the tea at seven in the morning.

my friend brian sent me a song. it was really lovely = tears

abby leigh bok my best friend in the whole world wrote me the most wonderful letter and i cried and had to leave the room because i looked a fool.

we went to an artists village and there was art hidden in trees and on walls and in the dirt and everywhere you looked and it was so secret but beautiful. hence the water works.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

since it's valentines day and all...

the other night i was coming home from a friends house pretty late at night so i figured the fam would be asleep when i came back. but as i got closer to my house i saw just the cutest little scene. carlos and mamma were sitting outside the front door and it looked like they were having a nice little after hours date. their chairs faced each other and their knees were almost touching. and of course...carlos had his ciggy.
it was nice and i think my parents love each other a lot. and carlos always calls mamma 'madame' and they always giggle (or hack if its mom who is laughing) together.

so maybe the next day or so i find myself at home alone with my mom and we are sitting in the hallway (but really just sitting on the floor next to the front door in the hallway...yet another reason i love this place). we talked about random things like how my eyes actually are blue and not fake, how to say colors in wolof, where the rest of her family is (morocco and spain) and things like that. then she asked me why i'm not married. ha. hope college? is it you?
i told her that for the most part 21 is a young age to be married and she said she understood and then asked me why i wasnt engaged/ in a relationship. i wanted to tell her i have a huge list going with my best friends as to why that is but i didnt know how to say 'lack of overall hygiene and femininity' in french. so i told her my other real reason which is i think i am too independent for a guy at the moment. i told her i want to travel and see the world and meet people from everywhere and wander for a while before i get married and settle down. she said that it was a good thing and that she was ok with it (thank goodness for the approval). she then said she thinks i will be just fine because i can live in senegal and i live simply so i will be able to live anywhere.
and she said the sweetest thing, "you have a spirit like the wind."

Monday, September 20, 2010


uncle dave. if you're reading this good because here is something fun.
the computer guy/teacher/techie is you just a little more tan.
it's awesome and i would love to tell him but i think that wouldn't translate as well as i would like it to in french.
i don't want to sound like a creep but you share the same smile and walk and attitude.

so don't worry. i have family everywhere i go.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

secret garden

"it looks like the secret garden and we think its magical and full of mystery and good thoughts"

i wrote this while i was on an island on friday that actually was the secret garden. but i guess also it could be the secret island.

justine natalie rebecca kayla and myself decided to go to l'ile ngor on friday, to get there we got on a janky bus called the (or what sounds like) a jagon jy. we didn't exactly know how to get to this beach we wanted to get to but we have heard some good things so we thought it would be best to explore. the bus let us off and we were like young explorers, ready to find new things. except whoops because we were in a land fill. not kidding we were dropped off in the town garbage dump. so we decide to do the logical thing and walk through it. this turned into us getting lost simply trying to find the beach but it was also very nice. we were walking through alleyways and narrow streets with people hanging out of windows and small children giving us high fives and yelling "toubabs!" it was like our mini parade.
finally after some wandering we found the beach. we walk out of this alley and take in our surroundings. to our right, a herd of blue sheep. no idea why the color change was necessary. but then all around and in front of us in the water were these fishing boats that painted the water with bright colors.
you have to buy a ticket to cross over to the island so we did that and climbed in these shaky boats with oh i dont know like a hundred other people. but it was definitely amusing.
we get to the island and chill hard. we are under the sun and swimming in what seemed like our own personal lagoon. at one point kayla became friends with a stray dog apparently named bob and he was a haggard looking dog but he loved her a lot so he stuck around. after a while we decided to explore the island with bob leading the way. he would jog ahead and then turn and make sure we were still following and if we stopped he would wait patiently for us to catch up. what a cutie.
i called this place a secret garden because we would be walking through these overhanging trees and flowers along cobble stone paths and then out of nowhere there would be a bright yellow door and it looked like there was probably a beautiful garden behind it.
there were also cliffs and just beautiful rocks and waves and grass and wind and benches on the other side. people took pictures so i will upload those when i can.
for a while we just stood on top of the cliffs and the wind was blowing and everything just seems so much bigger than ourselves. it was lovely.
then the rain started.
we were eating at this little place right next to the edge of the water and the sky just dumped on us. basically we were stuck on the island because boats stopped coming but we weren't upset, and also we had fish and beer for lunch so that wasn't bad either.
finally when the rain stopped we were able to leave and made our way back through the little town to find a bus home. except the town was under water. sewage and water and garbage came up to our ankles as we forged our way back through the alleyways and roads. at one point we came to this puddle (but really i mean lake) of garbage and water and there was just NO WAY to cross is unless we were waist deep in water. no thanks.
then this couple pulls up next to us in a pick up and the guy rolls down his window and asks in french if we want a ride across. even though everything we learn is basically dont get in cars with strangers blablabla we were like absolutely yes we would like a ride. they turned out to be awesome and also restored some faith in the goodness of humanity.
we made it home finally and of course the power was out and it was the hottest day ever but i think it might have been my best day of adventure so far and i am very thankful for it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


mama cathy.
i think i have a receding gum above one of my teeth. what do i do. i am brushing every day/night (for the most part)

family business

what would i ever do without my loving sister hilary to make sure that i provide updates everyday. hmm

things have been pretty wonderful in the ndoye family household. i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people are fed again and i am learning more wolof and i am not so dependent on them to tell me to do things, and i can now help around the house.
i also learned the family business. i love africa. ha. there are about 50 chairs in this little front section of our house and they are brown and plastic and flimsy and there are way too many for a family of 3 but i always just figured it was a weird quirk and my family was just really into plastic chairs. also one time i brought one up to the roof and then didn't bring it down cause i figured they wouldnt notice and then there would always be one up there for me. wrong. immediately i was asked where the chair was when i came downstairs, i told them i left it up there and mom said "well go bring it back." eek. as my brother andrew says, "well sorryyy"
so somehow at dinner the other night my mom brought up chairs and i found out that they actually rent them out to people for baptisms or festivals in the neighborhood....duh

another food story.
lately we have been eating a lot later since ramadan is over and everyone eats a huge lunch during the day. but i eat at school so i am always famished by 9pm when dinner is ready. so tuesday night i think it was, it was about 10pm with no dinner in sight. but then all of a sudden my mom brings a plate in just for me and i was like WHAT UP yes. food. it was pasta with scrambled eggs and melted cheese. and it was GOOD. no joke. i ate it all which was a bad idea cause of course i regretted it but only 17% of my body felt that regret. so then i go outside and the grill is going. and then i realized this is dinner round 2. and it was fish...all fish fish everywhere fish fish fish.
best part of the story: carlos was grilling with his bare hands. what a man. he would pick up whole fish and flip them on this small charcoal grill. there were chunks of tuna too and he had no fear. it was awesome.
and then we ate the fish. but it was also sooo good.

also i found out my mom is missing her two front teeth and when she gets tired they come out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

lost in translation

two good stories.

the other day mali, natalie and i decided to stop at this fairly small market on the way back from school. i need "house shoes" my mom tells me everyday which are just a pair of shoddy flip flops. whoops cause my two options were che guevara or brazil's national soccer team (both too small for my monster feet). so i decided no to that. there was a tiny little station set up with some fabric that i have been on the prowl for. so i was just looking. emphasis on looking. i greeted the woman selling it as i should, and then i asked her the measurements and how much it cost. it was more than i had with me so i told her i loved it and maybe i could come back later. wrong answer.
she went nuts and started yelling at me in wolof and then took a nice swipe at my face. luckily i have been in this spy/detective craze so she didn't get me. but i got out of there faster than you can say alxamdulilaay.
mali and i were trying to figure out what i said that was so offensive because i didn't touch anything or do anything that i thought would attract these "evil spirits" that attack small children when you say how cute they are. and's fabric so i sincerely hope the spirits chill out and go for cute puppies or something instead of a piece of beautiful cloth. there is a jealousy issue going on here.

second story.
in public health class today we did HIV/AIDS part 2. and our prof asked us what are some std's that we can name blablabla so a girl katie said "herpes" with a little influx at the end because she wasnt sure if it was the same word in french; however, instead of hearing herpes, the prof heard "chaude pisse." the literal translation of this would be hot urine. suddenly a room of 19-21 year olds could not stop laughing/crying/pulling stomach muscles because chaude pisse was so not what katie said. the prof then proceeded to talk about chaude pisse (he translated it, talked about how its a good clue that you have an std, so on and so forth). all maturity was lost.

i was excited because it looked like steak frites and who doesn't love a good plate of fries and steak right? well awesome because it was liver. i couldn't do it. the meat was all on the bottom of the plate covered by fries and onions. i quickly apologized to my arteries because i knew i would eat a lot of this (before i knew it was liver) and then worked out in my head how many years of life i will lose by eating the saturated fat i could see oozing from every molecule of fry. then i stuck my fork into the mix and took a nice succulent bite. nope nope nope. as soon as i bit down on the liver i knew i was doomed. i started gagging. like the severe kind before you puke where your eyes start watering and you make weird gurgling sounds. luckily the tv was on so i turned around and faced it while we ate so i could close my eyes and just try to swallow this massive amount of animal organ inside my mouth.

by the hammer of thor i need a salad.

Sunday, September 12, 2010



you've done it!

the fam

here are some pictures i thought would be nice to show:
(i am stealing a good chunk of wireless right now so i can do that. it's fine.)

this is my cousin bineta. she is my saving grace because she loves me a lot and doesn't care that i can't speak wolof.

this is lovely carlos. he chose this pose for the picture. it was intentional. but i don't know what it is.

this is mom. do you understand how maybe she is a little intimidating?

and this is sexna. little cutie

this is fifi. she is terrified of white people. this is how she looks all the time.

and finally. this is my city. it is so beautiful. and i like it so much.

Friday, September 10, 2010


i'm not sure if i will make it back.

ramadan is officially over (thanks to someone figuring out where the moon is) so people are eating again and they are happy; however, i ate breakfast today and it wasnt a baguette. try to picture a baby's spit up in a huge bowl that has lumps of something not chewy but not soft and not crunchy. just lumps of goo.
let me go back to this spit up part. i think it might actually be hot yogurt. i don't know. but my insides feel weird.

on a lighter note today is a huge celebration so everyone is dressed in traditional muslim/senegalese clothing and it looks like a paint can exploded over the city because there are beautiful colors EVERYWHERE
we are eating well today (at least that is what i hear but you never know with the ndoye family) but i did see some dead chickens in our backyard this morning so im assuming i will get poultry PTL

i persuaded a man last night that i was a princess and my name was pam and i am touring senegal. he was ecstatic and i got a good laugh out of it. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010


maybe i have heat rash.
but at least my bowels are going strong.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the little princess

today i had coffee paste. totally normal. let me explain except that there is not much to explain here. anyways, i was running late for school because i walked today and it takes about an hour so whoops. every morning my mom puts out breakfast for me and i love her for that but she doesn't take in to account my time of departure so i try to look really busy in the morning but actually i am just changing directions to see if there is breakfast on the table yet. so i'm running late, breakfast is finally on the table but i have to leave the house. so i put two huge spoonfils of nescafe in my cup with a lump of sugar and some classy powdered milk. turns out there is barely any hot water left. so i put in maybe 1/4 cup and then mix it up. needless to say it wasnt quite the smooth velvety consistency i am used to in my morning cup of instant coffee. it looked like tar. and i drank it all. at this point i thought it would be really helpful to have some mirrors in the house seeing as i probably had bits of coffee powder in my teeth.

yesterday when i came home from school a little guy named sexna (in wolof the letter x is pronounced with a hacking noise in the back of your throat so his name sounds like say-add a hack- na not sex-na) was over. he's like 5 or 6 i think and usually we get along fabulously. but yesterday i came in said hi and then ruffled his hair (i dont know what word to use here because he really doesnt have any so just think of it as the action of a ruffle). he got super pissed and said in french "are you mad?" he has never spoken to me in french before.thanks for the warm welcome child.

we had my favorite dinner (for real) last night called yaasa. OH SO GOOD. it's the one with onions and peppers and of course rice and super fatty meat. a lot of times you eat this with chicken but either someone in my family is allergic to the meat i love so dearly, they like to see me gag on fat or it's too expensive. my guess is number 2.

i took out the camera last night and sexna had a photoshoot with a wall and my hair. no joke my face never made it into a picture. but carlos came out and wanted his picture taken as did mama so those will be coming for you later. bless his soul that carlos he was just plain giddy.

also. i found out we have a maid now. she is pretty young and her name is mariam. she is super quiet and i have trouble with the idea of a maid so i am trying to adjust to that. except this is the best part. she looks EXACTLY like becky from the movie the little princess with the wispy hair and the big smile. and my name is sarah. therefore we are becky and sarah from the little princess and maybe one day we will wake up and there will be warm orange curtains draped over our beds and the walls and we will have cozy slippers on our feet and there will be muffins and sausages and orange juice on the table and we will open the door and the wind will sweep through our hair and our robes and we will hear the sitar music coming from somewhere and everything will smell good and look wonderful and we will be laughing and dancing.
....but for now i am trying to learn enough wolof to ask her how her day has been.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


this is a shop on goree island. nice colors don't you think?

last night i came home after school and we had our pre dinner tea. it was strange because everything was happening a lot faster than usual and we were all huddled around the doorway to the house. apparently its totally normal to drink scalding hot tea in 30 seconds because they threw back tea like it was nobody's business.
then we all ate dinner in the hallway. again, sometimes i wonder if it ever occurs to my family to explain certain things to me. literally we were on the floor of the hallway eating gumbo. blehhhh. let me explain this so called gumbo to you. i'm pretty sure there was ham in it and there are fishbones everywhere and it tastes a little like old meat. also there was a random fish head in the mix but it was so dark i could barely see it.

today i switched into a class called public health. i'm so excited for it and we get to go on a 3 day field trip into a rural area later on in the semester.

life is good, the sun is hot, the bus is stinky, the people are lovely and i still can't speak wolof.

Monday, September 6, 2010

what is whole wheat anyway

today i bought whole wheat cookies. i have not had anything whole wheat since i've been here (blabla for all those people who say it should really be whole grain because that is what's actually good for you. i see wheat. i eat the wheat.)

ok so back track to friday, our first weekend on our own. a group of us decided to go to la plage verage which is a beach just outside of ouakam. i felt like a little kid because we were all so entranced by the waves and we kept making up new games to play while we were in the ocean. also there were a TON of surfers, mainly french, mainly beautiful.
the beach is where i got that sunburn i was telling you about. oooh ouch. i get home and everyone laughed at me and carlos just kept saying my visage was tres rouge. it was painful and nobody understood it.

so then on saturday our ciee group went to l'ile de goree which is a tiny island off the coast of dakar. we took a ferry to get there and it was called "beer." what a riot.
goree served as a "market" for the slave trade. we went inside these tiny cells where people were held and heard way too many sad and horrible stories about what went on there. now it is this beautiful tropical island where a lot of europeans come for vacation with bright yellows and blues and reds. it's pretty ironic that it's the place to go if you want to buy souvenirs of africa because years ago you were buying people instead of bracelets.

also happy birthday to my leetle babee brother who is 17 now. ready for real life.

saturday night we ventured to a discotheque. SUPER FUN
it was called le patio and there were a ton of french military men there. (as well as a woman from liberia named joyce who liked to talk to me a little too much) we danced the night away and the dj played christina aguillera's geenie in a bottle. also weird thing about senegalese clubs: there are mirrors along all the walls and people stand in front of the mirrors watching themselves dance instead of dancing with people. hey i'm totally fine with that as long as i get my space to groove.

i can't believe it's already september. i miss fall a little bit. actually a lot. because i still sweat 24/7.

oh also for dinner we ate at our director's house. she lives in ouakam and is married to a senegalaise guy named papice. they have a son named bubacar and we had SALAD FOR DINNER. hi my name is sarah and i am the happiest of all.

its thunderstorming right now. praise the lord for real.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


internet here is insane so i haven't been able to post but just know this.
i got my first african sunburn. try explaining that in french.

also i got splashed by a truck and i am covered in mud when i come home and carlos says "ce n'est pas grave" basically "no big deal." ....thanks pop

i got yelled at on the car rapide today by an old angry muslim woman because i was staring at a baby too long. if you stare it means evil spirits will bring harm. obviously. my bad.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

mais, j'ai mangé!!

this is the view from my roof. it's quite lovely.

so last some people stayed at school to use the library thus we were all pretty late getting home.
i opened my front door for the first time (im telling you these things are impossible to figure out) and i went to the back "yard" and started talking to ma boyz. mom was out and bineta was in her room. they saved me some dinner in this medium sized crock pot. halfway through i started struggling. every spoonful was a battle of wits and will. i had to finish it, i didnt really have an option and i knew i could avoid a broken french argument if i just finished it.
15 minutes later i ate my last bite. i was sweating and im sure i had bags under my eyes and my skin was clammy. i had seen death but i looked the other way.

20 minutes later...mama comes home and there are a few other woman who are at our house by that point. she gets out one of the bowls we normally eat out of which is the size of about 3 pie pans put together. then i hear the dreaded words, "il faut manger" this means "you need to eat." you've got to be kidding me. i am still in a mental recovery room from my first dinner.  after a lot of insistent french and wolof, i dragged my sorry self into the circle and proceeded to eat couscous and some kind of meat. as if it was not enough that i literally thought couscous was going to come out of my eyeballs, there were huge chunks of tomato throughout the meat. somebody here is trying to kill me.
but don't get me wrong, i am very grateful for their hospitality i just want to live to see october.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

taranga -hospitality

my favorite place in my house is the roof.
once you get passed the fish skeletons that they put up there for the cats it's really quite lovely. so i was up on 'la terrace' reading over my wolof and i smelled...ONIONS and PEPPERS and i am fairly certain that i was drooling. you need to understand that i have not had anything that is not tan or orange or soft since i have been here. granted the onions and peppers were still soft and there was still fish but while we ate this glorious blend of food together, i was the happiest girl in senegal.

because senegal is a muslim country the call to prayer is always humming through the city. there are a ton of mosques in ouakam that project it over loudspeakers. it's very soothing actually but yesterday the man who was doing it started laughing. it was awesome and everyone could hear it so for a few minutes the whole city was laughing.

yesterday the power went out for about an hour or two during dinner. i had a very american moment because i started thinking "shoot, how will i charge my phone? i am going to melt if i cant use my fan! i dont even want to think about going to the bathroom in the dark!" ....then i realized wait a minute, my family is totally chill right now and the power goes out all the time. they dont freak out about their stupid phones or fans. they simply drink more tea and wait. so now i wait and drink more tea.

let me tell you about mon papa Carlos.
i love carlos. and i really like my family but carlos is different.
he works a lot so he is not home as much as i wish he was, but the other day i came home from school and he was watching basketball since it was his day off. he loves basketball so we talked about it for a while and then we talked about school and he asked questions that you want parents to ask. then i told him about all these adventures i want to go on and he got very protective and warned me about pickpocketing, senegalese men and walking alone. he makes the effort to talk to me in french instead of wolof which is nice for know seeing as i still only know how to say a formal greeting and "how much does this cost." also when he smiles he looks so unbelievable happy...and he has the best laugh.

the "after dinner" time is one of my favorite times of day. it is cool and dark and since we eat outside we all hang out where we ate and drink very strong green tea out of shot glasses (not sure why). it's a long process to make the tea so people sit, talk and spend time with each other. ousseynou and carlos smoke their cigarettes and mom talks and talks and talks. sometimes im not sure who she is talking to. but everything smells good and a little old fashioned and makes you sleepy.

life moves slowly here but it is also cherished and shared, and i think there is something to be said for a family who can sip tea for 3 hours and simply enjoy one anothers company.