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.


  1. O.K. I'll have the tea ready when you get back...three hours???

  2. mmm im off to make some chai tea! youve inspired.

  3. i dont like tea so I will have a decaf-!!
    funny- i was at the fams beach house last week and found myself going stir crazy with nothing to do- im not a sit at the beach all day type-
    it became a very presonal time of struggles, listening to God,arguing with Him, crying time, solution and maybe resolutions as well....we should all have a little (or a lot) of time to chill, together and alone! Bonsoi!