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)

Random Tidbits About My Life in Dakar

Senegal Dakar, Senegal  |  Sep 18, 2009
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 I was IMing with my mom the other day and she asked me if there was anything new. I wasn't sure what to say, because there's always something new. 

(This entry was adapted from an e-mail I sent on September 18, so I am posting it under that date even though it is now October 8.)

I was IMing with my mom the other day and she asked me if there was anything new.  I wasn't sure what to say, because there's always something new.  It would be impossible to write about everything.  But I'll try to share a few things that pop into my head.

They have really awesome juices here.  Mango juice, baobab juice, a juice called bissap that's made from hibiscus, ginger "juice" that's kind of like ginger beer except not carbonated, and a million others.  I've also had guava juice from a package, although I haven't seen any that's homemade.  (I don't think guavas are in season now.)

It's hot here.  I guess I already said that.  But anyway, it's still true...

I see a fair amount of stray cats here.  I've seen some dogs also, but more so in Dakar than in Yoff.  And there are goats everywhere.  You see them all over the streets, on the beach, etc.  At least some of them belong to people, but I don't know if they all do or if some of them are stray.

Our host family's house is right near the airport, so it's really loud when planes land or take off.  But it's kind of cool if you're up on the roof when one comes so you can watch it land.

I tried eating with my hands for the first time a couple nights ago, and it's WAY harder than it looks!  In my host family, the men always eat with spoons, but the women sometimes use spoons and sometimes don't.  What they do is pick up a bunch of rice and vegetables and/or fish/meat and then roll it around in their right hand to make it into a ball before bringing it to their mouth.  It doesn't sound too complicated, but it's a lot harder than you might think...

I also tried fasting yesterday.  A bunch of the other American students did it, too.  I thought that everyone who fasted here got up at 5:00 in the morning to eat breakfast before sunrise, and some families do, but apparently our family doesn't do that.  However for Ruthanne and me they gave us some bread and tea/coffee that we could have in the early morning.  I went back to bed after that, and then when I got up I fasted all day until breaking the fast with my host family around 7:00pm.  I thought that not drinking would be a lot harder than not eating, but I actually got pretty hungry.  But overall, while it was definitely hard, it wasn't actually as difficult as I'd expected.  I'm sure it's harder to do it for a whole month straight, though...

Ramadan is almost over now.  There is a big festival called Korité at the end of it, which is this Sunday.  And then we have Monday off.

Power outages are pretty frequent here.  Sometimes the power will only be out for a few minutes, but sometimes it's a few hours.  Yesterday the power at the school went out around 10am and stayed out all day.  And it was still out this morning!  But I guess that was a pretty localized problem; all our host family's houses still had power.  (No power at the school means no internet, and also no air conditioning...  The whole building isn't air conditioned, but the room where we have classes does have an air conditioner.)

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