Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, February 14

25 Random African Things

1) I do my laundry daily and by hand.

2) I can deal with mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, lizards, and spiders... but I'm drawing the line at mice. And perhaps the bigger lizards.

3) It's an art to be able to sleep through the 5:15a call to pray from the local mosques, which are broadcast over loud speaker throughout the whole city. Luckily, I was able to train during Ramadan, when the mosques broadcast song and prier 24/7.

4) I refuse to respond to hissing, "Hey, my sister," or even "Toubab" (white ghost person) if you're older than 5 years old. It's rude and you know better.

5) Mefloquine (anti-Malaria prophylaxis) makes me crazy with paranoia, and I have occasional insomnia. I also loose my hair, and am overly prone to extremities going numb.

6) I love that African mustard tastes like mayo and wasabi mixed together but looks deceptively like the boring yellow stuff.

7) I miss my dog, because pets don't exist here. Sheep and chickens are referred to as assets or future meals.

8) I'm concerned there is karma in the fact that I live with 6 boys ranging from 2 to 17 years old, as anyone who knows me knows that I am not fond of children.

9) Given the 9 other people (6 boys, 2 parents, and a maid) I share a shower with, multiplied by 3 showers a day, it's amazing that I rarely have to wait in line.

10) Missing the unexpected things is hardest: new babies, deaths, weddings, etc. Why are so many people suddenly getting engaged? The upside is that there are a lot of all three here.

11) Mashed potatoes are called puree in french. Here they have the consistency of having been through a blender with milk and butter; but are still awesome. I'm working on a skin-on American chunky style with my Mom, but it might take a while.

12) The fruit here tastes at least 3 times better than at home; mango, watermelon, grapefruit, ditax; but not so much with the oranges (which are actually green, and I feel a sign).

13) Male Peace Corps volunteers generally don't wear their shirts. Women in the north don't always wear them either (or so I'm told).

14) One can only get 4 kinds of beer in Senegal: Flag and Gazelle (brewed locally), Castel and Dutch Royal. I prefer Gazelle with lime; tastes like Corona.

15) If your right hand is dirty when someone goes to shake it, the person will instead grasp your right wrist. There's no getting out of shaking hands.

16) People wear scarves and ski hats/masks in the "winter." It's only 75 degrees.

17) Mass transit is decorated with the phrase "Thanks be to God," in Arabic though spelled out with Latin letters, which I take to mean "Dear God, please let us make it..."

18) I'm trying to teach my 2 year old brother where Senegal is on the world map, but he keeps pointing to Brazil. Hmm...

19) Its easier to say that I'm allergic to fish then to explain that the taste of if makes me throw up. Either way, the point gets across, I don't eat it.

20) When traveling, the car may look like something Americans would've scrapped 15 years ago, has rust holes all the way through the door, no cushion left on the seats, and probably no crank to open the window... but by god, the people have their best cloths pressed, hair done, makeup fresh, and perfectly matching accessories. A confusing sight for sure.

21) Window shopping is simply not done. You don't look at something, touch something, or show interest in anyway unless you are ready to spend the next 15 minutes negotiating a price in order to purchase.

22) The term "sick day" has a whole new meaning to me. And it accompanies another term (recently invented) "Africa better" meaning the best I can be- for being out of my element.

23) I'm fairly certain that the most common first word for the African child was "Obama." The second was "Nice."

24) I've recently been known to mix 3 languages in once sentence... and was understood.

25) My African name is Soda Ndaw. The other day I accidentally misspelled Moshier. French vowels are confusing, but it also doesn't feel like my name anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment