Pictures from Senegal

Wednesday, October 6

Saliou

The following is all about the hilarious things my youngest 2 years old brother, Saliou Ndaw (pronounced “saa-loo en-dow”), does. Admittedly, they are only hilarious because if I don’t laugh I might freak out. If you’re reading this but don’t know how I feel about children… ‘I don’t like them’ is the nicest way to put it. And no, that hasn’t changed in the past year. Anyway, the list of Saliou:
1. He recently bit my boob, drawing blood, whilst continuing a joke born during Ramadan about being hungry enough to eat a person. One’s first reaction might be to confirm that he wasn’t going for milk. No, he was not, as that ended a year ago when I first arrived. This was solely a bad joke gone worse.
2. Climbed into my bed buck-naked after a shower; replying to my “where are your pants?” with “I’m going to sleep.” And then he did. This behavior went on for about a week straight until I left for a while thus breaking the daily routine. I would’ve taken pictures of the ridiculous way he stretches out with audacity, but wouldn’t ever want them found for fear of prosecution on child pornography charges. Yikes.
3. The first time I heard him say “Dinaay Poop” meaning I’m going to poop. Problem is that this was the week he learned future tense… so everything was in the future regardless of whether or not he should have been speaking in the immediate present. If you can guess where this is going… he had explosive diarrhea while sitting on my lap.

4. Eating food is a big deal. People talk about it all the time. Favorite meals, how much was eaten, etc. I therefore started to joke with my family that the really good meals are somehow too difficult for my brother because he always seems to wear more than he eats. Maybe it’s because he’s shoveling them in so fast that he misses his mouth concerning the majority of the contents of the spoon. When I tease him about wearing his dessert yogurt on his face he says “Eat naa” (I ate). Yeah, I teach him English. Get over it.

4.a. Because he’s learning English he runs around saying things like “eat naa,” “go away naa,” and “up naa” to mean he has eaten, has already left me alone (although not true), and has climbed onto my chair and into my lap- respectively.

5. Like any 2 years old that doesn't want to take a shower, I have to drag him in there kicking and screaming- and demand he take his cloths off before I throw him in. The last time this went down he took his shirt off with a scary smile... then instead of taking his pants down he reached in, pulled out his junk, and actually started aiming a stream at my foot.

6. He has taken to mixing English and Wolof in the negative formation as evident by the phrase “up uma ko,” meaning he has not pulled up his pants. He’s NOT fond of pulling up his pants after showers or trips to the bathroom. I think it might be his least favorite task in life. If only that were mine…

7. The first time I successfully translated the phrase “deffal ma” I was very proud of myself for my progress in language. To explain it to you, I would say “Would you do this for me, please?” But Wolof isn’t so polite or wordy. It most literally means “do me,” which as you can imagine had me thoroughly confused. A lot of Wolof is about inference, but these days if I still don’t know what he wants from me I ask him to show me… which can be witnessed by others with a 2 years old leading a tall white person around like an idiot.

8. Speaking of foreigners, Saliou is a firm believer that I am friends with every last one of them in Mboro. So any time another white person shows up to the house (be it for World Cup games, or visits with my parents) he is the first to run into my room anxiously announcing that someone is calling me. This is not true, but is his way of saying “someone else that looks like you is here… you must want to talk to your friend.”

9. I hung up a world map on the wall in my room and my 4 years old brother, Babacar, likes to ask where things are located. We play a sort of point and learn game together. When Saliou wanted to join, I asked him to show me Senegal. He pointed to Brazil- which I think is a complex of some kind! He’ll still point there occasionally, even though he’s constantly reminded of his country’s size and continental orientation.

10. Saliou has recently entered the phase characteristically described back home as the ‘terrible twos’ in which he finds it unbelievably hilarious to learn and frequently use all forms of foul language. And what makes it so terrible is awareness of the flying insult. He’ll appear at my door in the seemingly absolute worst of my equally foul moods to shout evil slurs and quickly dart out of reach. On the occasion that I have the energy to chase after him in an attempt to deliver a good spanking, he’ll run away whilst yelling “Soda duma jappal” or Soda won’t catch me.

So given all the flying poop, bad English, and insults… can you really blame me for NOT finding kids to be the most magical part of my Peace Corps service? I didn’t think so. But hey, at least I have a reformed, if not healthy, sense of humor thanks to my brother Saliou.

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