Saturday, June 27, 2009

C'est la vie, or survival of the fittest

I no longer hear the bleating of the goat next door. I do believe he was invited to the main course. I wonder, will the baby be next?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Progress, or economic standstill?

So much building has happened since our last visit 12 plus years ago. A plethora of new buildings, as well as many of unfinished structures. John tells me that there was an influx of people from Cote D'Ivoire during civil unrest, stimulating a housing boom. Now, with the economic downturn, many of them have gone, leaving unfinished housing. It's affecting everyone, globally. However, I see men still doing the construction all around us. They are the ones covered in cement dust! Rather eerie, their dark skin streaked in white. 

Monday, June 22, 2009


Or, what is she doing over there? 

I apologize for my lack of posts, but I have been having a horrid time getting this blog to load. And pictures? Fugedaboutid. So, I will post when connections allow. Also, if you are on Facebook, I have pics posted there. I will attempt to share the photo album with those of you who aren't.

In a nutshell, here is my day:

Up at 10, mango for breakfast. And Nescafe, or the French version of Folger's in your cup. Shower, etc. Games with the kids, followed by much knitting and iPod listening. Lunch is a Senegalese dish of rice with either fish or beef and sauteed onions and stewed veggies. An ice cold GLASS (remember soda in glass bottles? Ahhhh!) bottle of Coke. Smile. More games. Maybe a nap. Time on Facebook, Raverly, and checking email, or solving knitting problems. BBC on the short wave radio, or nasty French music for a laugh. It's really bad. Rap, horns, and synthesizers. ::Shudder:: Walking on the streets, or sitting on the front stoop watching the people and horse - drawn carts go by. More knitting, or reading, which I have to pace myself with now because I've read over half of my books and still have 10 weeks left. Before dinner, we watch Spanish TV dubbed into French - a take off of High School Musical in which everyone wears headbands and wigs. Faaantaaaaaastic. Very entertaining, seriously. Dinner is either fish or beef, rarely chicken (it's very expensive here), with veggies and potato in some form. Warm milk before bed. Hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Reading and BBC. Bed at 2300 or midnight. Repeat.

Once a week we go into the city of Dakar proper, about a 20 minute taxi ride. We stop at the research center that is sponsoring John for lunch, followed by the most amazing gelato at N'ice Cream. Or, we go to the market, which is a whole new post in itself. This week, we will stop by the patissiere/chocolatier that is next door to the gelato place. I know, right?

Yesterday we went to the beach. I will confess that I was VERY hesitant to allow the kids into the water, as near to where we are staying is the sewage dump, and it's dirty with garbage and dead fish everywhere. Phew! However, not to far up the way, the water is clean on most days, and the beach is much nicer. The water was just the right temperature, with good body surfing. The undertow is quite a bit stronger than at home, so we played it safe. We had a blast and it was a wonderful way to welcome the solstice.

John's work is progressing nicely, and ahead of schedule. He has quite a stash of documents, and has yet to hit the archives. Looks like we will be checking clothes and carrying on paper on the way home! He is very excited and will start the interviews this week, inch'allah (God willing). We are all healthy, and happy for the most part. The kids here all play together, which is a big blessing. On Sunday we have plans to travel to a nearby city for lunch with a friend of John's research assistant, and beach time. I hope to be able to post pics, because I hear it's very nice there. It's gotten really humid here. After 9 years in CA, my body no longer knows how to handle it. Whew! Dafa tang, torop (It's very hot in Wolof)!!

Be well. Yendoo ak jamm.

Woohoo! My picture loaded. I took this just outside of our place. It's my favorite so far. Xale yi (the children). So, I may be able to post pics one at a time, once a day. Guess you'll have to tune in more often!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not always greener

While I agree that it's nice having someone to prepare meals, clean, and launder for me, all is not as it may seem. Some things to consider:
  1. I flush the toilet with a bucket.
  2. I bathe everyday in cold water.
  3. I am slowly being eaten alive by some unseen, unknown creature.
  4. I have been sick as a dog for the past 4 days in an attempt to adjust to the major food change.
  5. I fear the malaria medicine I am taking is giving me nightmares.
I am not looking for pity, by all means, just providing a reality check. Sometimes, there really is no place like home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Joie de Vive

You know you are in a good place when the floor is littered with bottlecaps.

The family with whom we are staying is catholic, and the eldest daughter made her first communion this past Sunday. A nearby neighbor threw une bonne fete that evening! Let me say, there was great fun to be had! Dancing is very big here, and EVERYONE can dance. Even the toddlers dance better than I. The people here are so loose limbed. Is it that Americans are so wound up, so uptight, that we have lost our rhythm?

There is nothing so freeing than throwing up your arms and shaking it like you just don't care.

Pictures soon, I promise.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bonjour, Senegal!

We made it, safe and sound with minimal drama. Internet access is not readily available as of yet, so posts will be few for a while, and pics limited. Hopefully, we will have access at the place we are staying soon. In the mean time, meet Senegal as a journey through the senses (except sight, sorry!):

garbage - the sewage system is lacking here
car exhaust

the ocean!! :)
car horns
the goat and baby next door (baa and waah)
Toubab!! - the Wolof name for white people. It's not racial, just a statement of fact.

ice cold coke from a glass bottle
freshly baked french bread
spicy Senegalese rice
cooking oil (palm oil)

Touch or feel:
rabbits - our family has 3 small rabbits. So cute.
fatigue (duh)
ITCHY!!! the bugs have found me, LOL!

Be well. Miss you all! I hope to have pictues soon; ba beneen yoon! A tout à l'heure!

Yendoo ak jamm. Pass the day in peace.