May 16, 2010

I need love.

PCV Ann Marie Albright

BP 79
Linguere, Louga Region, Senegal
West Africa

Par Avion

I officially swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and move into my village tomorrow. Bummm bummmm bummmmmmmmmmm See you in 730 days!

May 11, 2010

Two months in Senegal!

My two month anniversary in Senegal. I am going to regale you with some of my cultural observations.

The dissonance within Senegalese culture baffles me.
I can’t show my knees or talk about changing gender roles, but here is how my sister greeted me the other day:
Are you finished? How did you study? How are your friends? How is your vagina? Did you spend the morning in peace?
WHAT?! Bizarre.

Ode to Man Jellies
Remember those really uncomfortable plastic shoes that were popular for girls aged 5-8 during the early 90s? That’s the craze for grown men in Senegal. It’s beautiful. Picture this:
A growth man standing alone in the African bush with a scowl on his weathered face and a massive machete draped casually over his shoulder. Then your eyes drift to his feet, Man Jellies! I giggle every time.

Ceeb u jen is Everything.
Lunch everyday consists of a giant bowl of rice with a few fish and boiled vegetables placed on top. The process of actually eating in my family is quite the event. At least 12 people sit around the bowl, which means I am usually reaching over and through coughing, runny nosed children. The men folk and I get to eat with spoons; the women and children eat with their hands. Amazingly, I have avoided explosive diarrhea.

One night, after learning comparisons in language class, I told my uncle that I could cook ceeb u jeb better than him. Next thing I knew I was cooking lunch over an open fire for 20 people. It was the talk of the village for days.

IF, Inshallah, I pass my language test today, I will be sworn in as a Volunteer on Friday. That means that the time of summer camp, language class, speaking English and seeing white people is done. I will be in my village, Barkedji, on Friday. And so it starts...