Thursday, October 28, 2010

last night was just full of intimidating folk chez ndoye. (chez ndoye means the ndoye household)

every wednesday a few of us students go to a school in ouakam to work with a big group of young girls after they get out of school. we do art, play games, work on public speaking, writing and things like that. we are working on trying to help these girls become strong, confident and awesome young women. in the Senegalese school systems, participation is not part of school. the teacher does most/all of the talking therefore, a lot of students, mostly girls are terrified of speaking up or getting in front of groups. its fun to help them be brave and realize that its not so hard to speak up.
soooo i get hope from citfem as it is called and i am later than usual but its only like 730pm or so. there is a woman in the back who is i think my great aunt. i have it under good authority that all african women over 60 are terrifying. beautiful and awesome, but terrifying. she says rokaya ca va? and then "why were so late today?" and i told her i was working with an ngo and i walked home so i was a little late today. she then proceeds to ask me what i did with the girls and how that made me late....uhh cool. i find myself having to explain myself a lot here, i cant do that well in english let alone french. later on she said, "rokaya, i'm thirsty." and when i didnt understand that i was supposed to go fill up her water bottle for her she was not happy with me.
then....i met the REAL rokaya ndoye. she is my dad's sister. i had no idea she existed. but she comes in and she asks my name and it goes like this:
naka nga tudd? (what is your name?)
-maangi tudd rokaya ndoye (my name is rokaya ndoye-this is me talking)
-deedeet maangi tudd rokaya ndoye (no, my name is rokaya ndoye)
je suis le deuxieme rokaya? ( i am the second rokaya)

i get a little laugh out of that so that was good but then my mom was like yes youre the second but youre much prettier than her, she's old and youre young and beautiful.
...i think the real rokaya hates me. thanks mom.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

c'est frois quoi

just thought i should let you all know.

it is 249 am in senegal africa right now and i woke up because I WAS COLD. i have my fan on and i am about to go turn it off.

write this one down the history books folks. it's a big deal

apparently, sanguuma

this means that i dont shower.
this phrase is untrue (at least in senegal); however, sama yaay (my mom) is telling all the other host moms that i dont shower so thats cool. a few students and i have really gossipy moms who get together and talk about us. my problem is that i dont shower. i would like to explain that i shower like 75% more here than i do at home. its just that i shower when i wake up (moms asleep) and i shower when i go to bed (moms asleep). how is that a real thing to gossip about i mean come on now.

so that among other things is what i have been experiencing this past week.
i am feeling so at home here and i am so happy. i think ive said that before but i just feel so content right now. i have gotten to the point where i will be walking around ouakam or mermoz and people will say ahh sarah ca va?? its fantastic and i love my friends here.

this past friday some friends and i planned the perfect day and we called it THE PERFECT DAY OF ALL DAYS...or at least i did.
we spent the whole day at la plage verage and chilled hard on the beach, swam in the waves et les choses comme ca. we all quick went home to change and shower (notice...shower) and then we went downtown for a hip hop concert by this guy dj awadi. it was INCREDIBLE. the music was amazing, people were moving and it was glorious. awadi was wearing this bright orange tunic with jeans and i just thought how cool that this man can be one of the best rappers in senegal and be wearing a tunic and not some shiny labels. WAY TO GO SENEGAL. oh it was just so great.
after the concert there was a party at suffolk that was called "icebreaker" but we didnt play stupid name games or anything we all just hung out and talked and there was more dancing and it was great to hang out with and get to know more senegalese students. so that day was perfect.

here is a funny thing that happened (besides the fact that my uncle keeps hitting on me and gets angry/upset when i hang out with other guy friends)
my mom went to a boutique (little corner shop) and got this powder. she was mixing in a bowl with a little water and i though YES we are eating mafe for lunch. mafe is a traditional dish that is kind of like a peanut sauce over rice with some other goodies and it is my favorite. so she was mixing and mixing what looked like a peanut paste....but then she started putting it in her hair. ha whoops. i realized quickly that was not lunch. she also put it on her toenails. i didnt ask about it just in case it was a personal thing.

also one of the highlights so far...
yesterday after school some ciee students and i went to this little school for kids with disabilities. a lot of them have polio and can't walk and a few seem to have some cognitive disabilities as well. but i loved this so much because we were just there to give them some attention and i havent been around kids for a while so it was great. another reason it was great was because i could actually talk to them. all the time in mexico i say like 2 word sentences and for the most part i make no sense and cant really communicate. but here i can! whooo it was awesome. we played cache cache which is hide and go seek. we would wheel the kids to their hiding place (they all wanted to hide together) and we would spin them around on this merry go round type thing they have and everything was great and i just felt so alive when i was with them. the kicker was at the end we went over to this lime tree and picked a TON of limes and then realized that the kids make their treat by sqeezing the limes into a cup and putting about 5 sugar cubes in an inch of lime juice. here is how you know youre not in the states: one kid grabbed this huge butcher knife to start cutting the lime and we asked one of the workers if she knew the boy had the knife and she just said oh yeah its fine...........
its so cute though because all the kids know our schedule and i said see you monday! and they said no friday! so i guess i will also be there on fridays from now on : )

so life marches on here in senegal. we are about to do our rural visits and everyone is really excited for that. carlos is going to mecca for a month which is actually a huge deal. we are redoing the entire house for his return so construction is going on all the time. i love the workers though and they love saying things in wolof and hearing me answer with the right answer 87% of the time.

also i finally bought fabric and i finna make some sweet dresses.

love you all

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

cultural sensitivity

so this post is not really relevant to life but i thought it was interesting.

almost everyday on my way to school i see these white army-ish guys. except really i feel like i stepped out of a YMCA music video because they are always wearing this insanely tight uniform. it is your typical army camo but here is the kicker: the shorts are booty shorts. not kidding. and i dont understand who these people are. they just walk around ouakam in these skimpy army uniforms lookin a fool.

also i only have 8 weekends left here. blerg

i promise i will post something more substantial later

Thursday, October 14, 2010

duh innernet

so internet is not working on the little ole mac so this weekend i will most likely be absent.
dont worry i will still take my malaria pillz.

i had a wolof exam today. i studied for the first time and now i feel like i am actually a bit more decent at wolof and thats nice because oh wait thats what everyone speaks here. way to be culturally sensitive sarah.

also here is you senegal story of the day:
my friend katlyn sent me a package (bless her soul she is beautiful)
so my friend aileen agrees to go get it with me because we all know being alone downtown is not your best idea
so we snag a cab he says he knows where the post office is (mind you there are three downtown) and he drops us off at la poste finances. we say no this is incorrect. but also we dont actually know where the other one is so we cant tell him how to get there so we get out.
we go inside and ask and they say oh yeah its just around the corner!
cool! or so we naive little girls think because we get there and have an extended conversation about the name of the post office with this guy who is just very unhelpful. we leave and end up meeting these two baye fall (hippie-ish sect of islam) who help us find it. one walks us all the way to the poste which we think is the right one. he is being especially friendly but not too weird and then we finally get to the "right one" but no its the wrong one again and so he walks with us a little ways more and finally we make it to these doors that are singing to us. we walk in and they look at us like we are idiots and then say they are closed. we are hot sweaty and very annoyed. but our new friend just says ehh just come back tomorrow. cool because i love spending money on taxis to get here. and then he happily says bye and bonne journee which is nice because he didnt ask for money and so he gets an A+ in our "senegalese male encounters" book.

and that was that. still no package but its in dakar and so am i and i will have that box.
good day to you all

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

maybe an average day?

today i finished a 5 page paper. let me tell you, africa has messed with my mind. I was acting like a 5 year old all day complaining about how i had nothing to write about, i didnt like my topic, the whole paper is too broad anyway blablabla. i am in for a SICK reality check when i go back to hope. also this is my only paper until finals. hehe whoops.

also i got letters today from 2 lovely women: kate davelaar and amandalbarnett. they were lovely and they made me smile from oreille to oreille.

but yeah other than really was an average day.
i presented my family tree in wolof (i pretended everyone on the bast side was a teacher because i didnt know how to say the other professions like uncle mike for example....i cant even say his profession in english)
i got jipped 25cfa on the car rapide but i was too tired to fight for it (its about 5 cents)
some more old women got mad at me for who knows what
there was a mini flash flood
and i finished a jar of applesauce.

also my glands are feeling better so thats nice. but i had a dream my friend here thomas was selling all the ciee students as slaves and i woke up sweating and i think my glands reacted to that in a negative fashion.

Monday, October 11, 2010

get on the waiting list dude

today is a sick day.
i woke up with swollen glands and i am pretty sure a fever but it's hard to tell when you are sweating all the time anyways. my yaay swears it is the climate change from mbour to dakar....i said maybe but we all know your glands dont swell just because you travel 60km away from your home. thanks anyways woman.
being sick in africa is simply not enjoyable let me tell you.

on a lighter note...last night the family tailor came over with my uncle ousseynou and they were both fairly drunk so they were very chatty with me. the tailor started talking in wolof and ousseynou translated for me into french that he wants me to marry him. i laughed and said oh no thank you. the tailor says that i have to. i say no i dont. my mom says "why wont you marry him? whats wrong with him?" (thanks for the help ma) and i say he is too old for me. wrong answer. he FLIPS OUT and is literally angry with me and says he is only 26 and the reason i wont marry him is because i dont like "the blacks." cool yeah lets have that conversation because that makes sense. i told him it wasnt because of that and i do in fact love what he calls "the blacks. " it was such a stupid conversation but the key is to not get annoyed. i told him i have a long list of men who want to marry me and it wouldnt be fair to him. then my dad asked me how many and i jokingly said 18. again wrong answer. i got a lecture on how i am here to learn and study not for romance. cool because now things are getting awkward. anyways...i finished by telling the tailor i simply love another. he asked who it was, i said none of your business and then he left in a cloud of anger.
then my dad looks at me and says in wolof "he left because of her" thanks dad. i actually understood that sentence. go get yourself a new tailor.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

home again home again

i never want to leave senegal. i already know this so i think i will stay.

not much to tell here.
i am tan. i have infected mosquito bites all over my ankles that are oozing some kind of yellow liquid. but i am happy.

we spent the week in mbour which is a small town about 1 1/2 hours south of dakar (4 if you are actually driving in senegal and not just talking about it because the traffic is so bad you cant move)

our house was right on the beach so our days consisted of waking up...eating bread and "coffee" on our outdoor deck/living area, going to the beach until lunch. and then being creepily watched and hit on non stop by senegalese men. we learned that if you swim way far out and then just float or tread water they leave you alone because they cant swim. SCORE
so then we would eat lunch and go back out to the ocean aftwerwards and see how long we can last without being attacked by men.

it was in every sense a vacation. at least until some kids pooped in the ocean and watched it float right next to my face.

although when we talked about it...we realized it was still very much senegal. we lost power everyday sometimes it was so hot at night that no one could sleep and we all just woke up the next day looking like sweaty zombies. also we lost water for a whole day so add stinky to that zombie description and the flies were eating our open sores from mosquitoes.

but as they say: "c'est senegal!"