A Day To Blog About

Trip Start Jun 13, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Senegal  , Kolda,
Monday, September 3, 2012

After buying peanut butter in the market yesterday, and speaking with Diane on how to make it like real American peanut butter, I was thrilled to test it out on toast this morning. Now when I say I bought peanut butter in the market I literally mean the butter from peanuts, nothing else added, organic one would say. I found a few ladies that sit with their bowls of the spread and plastic bags in the market selling this luxury item and I have to admit I am more than willing to be a regular customer. While adding equal amounts of sugar and salt to this organic butter, fine American peanut butter emerges; it goes great with toast, just as I remembered. At the corner boutique along with bread this morning I bought a small baggie of yogurt, also the homemade brand, to go in my Quaker Oats; a breakfast for kings.

After breakfast I strolled over to the Balde residence (my work partner) to say hi. It had been a number of days since I have talked with him even though I figured he would be out working in the fields; I remember him saying how much he appreciates me going to his house to get to know his family better. After greeting everyone I was invited to sit in Amadou's sister’s room, trying my best to make small talk in a language I barely speak. She then excused herself to go shower and I lay idle, by myself, in her room watching the fan spin on the ceiling. Upon her return I decided to use having to go to the market to buy food to help make lunch as my way out. I will make a mental note to prepare topics of conversation for my next visit.

After feeling like I had a very accomplished morning I returned home to help my mother prepare lunch. Mari has been out of town for the last week or so at a wedding so her daily chores have been passed onto the only other capable female in the house, Nene. I try and help her cook but she insists that I sit and watch. Occasionally she gives me the task of pounding pepper and onions in a traditional wooden pistol and mortar; she at least thinks I am capable of this. We make small talk while she is cooking, consisting of me asking seemingly useless questions that I only pose to her because I am excited in being able to pull a sentence together in Pulaar. She just laughs. I am starting to think that she has lost confidence that I can speak any language at all considering all she ever hears me speak is intermediate French and Pula Futa of a two year old, someday I will prove to her that I am not a complete idiot. Though Abidina is back now he had been gone for three days or so in the village visiting friends and family. It was actually nice having him gone because it forced me to speak in Pulaar, and to Nene specifically. Now that we can communicate with each other, though its still on a very basic level, I have found her to be very funny. With Mari gone she gets to make comments now such as "Nene defay buy." Nene cooks a lot. “Nene wuppi.” Nene washed cloths. She appears to get a kick out of doing things that I am sure Mari would not hesitate to give up a little more often.

After lunch I waited around for the carpenter to come and put the finishing touches on my desk, until I remembered that I was in Senegal and I could be waiting for days. I decided to get a head start on going to the hotel so I could get some work done before my Skype date with the parentals. Upon arriving to the hotel I was pleasantly greeted with the, seemingly permanently aggravated, employee who informed me that she shut off the Wi-Fi until tomorrow. Now I was aware that, for some strange reason, my family shuts off their cell phones and disconnects TV’s and fans in a big thunderstorm but was completely unaware that, even though it had stopped raining, she would unplug the Wi-Fi. Are the Senegalese afraid of getting electrocuted if around a power source during a storm? Was there something that I was missing? The next time it doesn’t storm I will have to Google this. While biting my tongue in explaining that is was no longer raining and its ok to use electricity during a storm, for the fear that she knew something that I didn’t, I pleasantly said my goodbyes and said I would come back tomorrow. On my walk home I remembered my brother saying that whenever I wanted I could go to the school he worked at to use the computers in their computer lab. I rushed home in hopes that he would find this idea to be as exciting as I.  Upon arriving home the carpenter was there to finish my desk, I would propose the idea once he was finished. The desk turned out pretty good- back to business. After finding out that I was not able to speak to my parents Abidina was more that happy to show me to his school that had working computers and Internet.

Of course it was sprinkling our whole walk to the school. Having a “computer lab” at a school is ahead of the times here but I don’t know why I thought that I would be able to just plug a cord into my computer and it would work. It simply could not be that easy. Getting this cable/phone credit connection to work on the Mac would involve setting up the router and cable in the network settings on my computer, something that I was not emotionally and technically equipped to do. Abidina let me use the phone, at least it was good for something if not dialing onto the internet, to quick call home to tell mom that I would be on at a later time. The familiarity of her voice made me overjoyed. We will postpone our talk until tomorrow.

By this time it is almost seven and still sprinkling on our walk home. We decided to stop at the house of a fellow teacher that lives near the school on our way back, I soon learned that the stop was mostly at cause of him having unlimited internet and Abidina wanted to check his Facebook. While poking around pictures of an old Volunteer with the Peace Corps that he once worked with, with soccer playing on the TV in the background, we realized that is was now way past dark and we should get going, be it in the rain or not. I had packed my umbrella earlier in case of this weather and Abidina borrowed his friends and we started to make our walk back home.

It’s not a long walk, but it quickly turned longer than normal in the rain and black streets. Our journey was mixed with assisting each other in the seemingly easy task of walking and following closely behind on those thin slippery trails on the road. Cars and mopeds splash by us and I started to wonder why we even needed the umbrellas. “It was almost too perfect of a walk home to be real life, this is not how Americans live”, I remember thinking to myself. Even though Senegal proved to let me down again with inconsistent Internet our walk home was too memorable. Me teaching Abidina the song “Singing in the Rain”, him making up his own words in French to the same rhythm consisting of lyrics loosely translating to “we have to walk careful because African roads are no good when it rains.” Me laughing at his lyrics, him mocking my truly American, loud laugh; it was like watching a movie of someone’s dream adventure. I am in Senegal I thought. This is how one should enjoy the simplicities of life, the true beauties.

After finally arriving home Nene greeted us with dinner, rice porridge stuff; it’s sweet, I would think similar to rice pudding though I have never tried it. Abidina reminded me that it’s great for digestion and constipation. I am beginning to wonder why he thinks I have a constipation problem.  I just sit and nod and make a point to remember to someday inform him that my life in that department is normal and functioning.

I head to my room at a descent hour to make more toast with the peanut butter spread. I retire in my desk to watch The Little Mermaid, which seemed like a seemingly perfect end to my day, until I am reminded of the leak in my roof right onto my lap. I must remember to get that fixed. It’s off to watch the movie in bed without any protest. After the movie I drift off into sleep listening to the rain and on my tin roof. I sleep in hopes to speak to my parents tomorrow, catch up on some emails and upload some more photos. I will also make a mental note to call Grandpa and Janice, it has been entirely too long since I have heard their voices and I am beginning to wonder how I am going to go two years without seeing them. Lets hope it doesn’t rain.

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