RebeccaT's Travel Journals


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Living Routes Senegal Fall 2009

Living Routes study abroad program in Senegal, Fall 2009 (September-December 2009)

Anticipating the Trip to the Village, Senegalese Food, and Texting in French

Senegal Dakar, Senegal  |  Sep 23, 2009
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 We leave tomorrow for the village. 

(This entry was adapted from an e-mail I sent on September 23, so I am posting it under that date even though it is now October 8.)

We leave tomorrow for the village.  Guédé Chantier is located in northern Senegal, near the Senegal River and the border with Mauritania.  It is where we will carry out the project component of the program.  We will spend two weeks there now, and we will later return for a three-week trip in November. 

It turns out I will actually be with a host family by myself in the village rather than with a Senegalese student.  Most of the other students are in pairs.  It's a little scarier to be on my own, but it will also be more of an immersion experience, something I feel I'm lacking here in Dakar. 

And I now have another new name!  I guess we are all getting new names from our families in the village.  So now in addition to Rebecca Thomas and Yacine Lo, I am also known as Coumba Samba Sow.  (And that means I will have to learn all the other students' names all over again.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out...)

The main language in the village is Pulaar.  A few of the Senegalese students speak Pulaar, but not all of them.  Apparently most people (and all of the host families) speak at least a little French and/or Wolof, but I suspect communication will still be a bit difficult, especially when we need to interview/talk to people in the village about our projects.  And as much as I like learning new languages and have some talent for it, I'm not sure if my brain can handle a third language right now...

I guess I haven't talked too much about the food here.  Usually it's some variation on rice, vegetables, and fish or meat.  There are different sauces.  We also recently had a dish with couscous instead of rice.  And for dinner last night we had a pasta dish (longish noodles somewhere in between spaghetti and angel hair) that was spicy and had egg on top.  I've also heard of but haven't tried sweet millet (kind of like rice pudding I hear) and some dishes that have both rice and pasta.

The vegetables usually include carrots, potatoes, manioc/yucca/cassava, something small and cabbage-like, and sometimes eggplant.  The Korité meal involved homemade fries, lettuce, chicken, and some kind of spicy-ish sauce made with lots of onions.  Most of the food tends to be spicy.

Breakfast is usually bread with butter/margerine or a chocolately spread (like Nutella) with coffee or tea.  Bread is sometimes served with pasta or other meals, too.

In French class today we learned some text message language, which is pretty fun.  For example, s8 oqp = je suis occupé, g = j'ai, yapa d pb = il n'y a pas de problème, j t'm = je t'aime, kesk tu fé = Qu'est-ce que tu fais?, a 2min = à demain, etc.  I know a lot of stuff like this in Spanish from Paraguay, but it's cool to learn it in another language.  We also talked about animals and the sounds they make (for example, cock-a-doodle-doo = cocorico), so that was fun too.

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