Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, September 27

Small Talk

Small talk is exactly the opposite from the US... with the exception of the weather. In the US it is appropriate to talk about things as they are. My name is, Where I come from, I did this, I like these kinds of drink and food, I don't like these things, my family structure is as such. We don't talk about religion and politics.

In Senegal, my previous statements have made a number of crowds uncomfortable. I have given way too much personal information. The origins of my real name (read yes I do have an African name) and family heritage are confusing and speak of history unknown to most Senegalese. I have mentioned not liking something- that potentially makes another person who may have given it to me in the past look poorly. I have discussed the status of my family; counting the number of people or children- thus inviting bad luck upon them.

So instead, I take on a Senegalese name and with it the heritage of my host family. Here a last name indicates at least a half an hour of conversation. Also up for discussion is the region of Africa from which my host family has descended. The religion practiced by my (real) father, and therefore myself. Am I married, how many children do I have/ want, when am I going to find a Senegalese boyfriend/ husband, will I take everyone back to America where things are a million times better? Did I vote for Barack Obama? Isn't he great? In that order, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment