Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Wedding is Over!

While living without electricity can often be...inconvenient, I do constantly thank my lucky stars that my village doesnt have it. The Senegalese tend to use electricity for a few specific purposes, including blasting arabic "singing" from megaphones, running Wolof TV programs which, as far as I can tell, just consist of more yelling but complete with awkward visuals, blasting Akon until 5am, and for lighting up things that really dont need to be lit up. Sadly, though, somebody rented a solar panel for their wedding, which took place about 5 feet from my backyard, and blasted, "Allo, ALLO, Allo, allo, ALLOALLOALLOALLO!!!!!" for three days straight. Im not sure why they do that, but give someone a microphone in this country, and they will "sound test" allllllll day long. I was relieved when, on the third day, they randomly decided to switch to Phil Collins music. The hysteria of not sleeping for a few nights, compounded by the sight of people dancing their traditional dances to Easy Lover, left me in a fit of giggles. But, thankfully, the wedding finally ended and now we are back to peace and quiet. Alhamdoulilahi.

Ive been quite busy lately and am working on three big projects as the school year is winding down. Classes end June 10th. On the 12th Im helping out with a bed net distribution, doing a radio show on the 13th, and then muraling a campement with some of my neighbors in exchange for a free pirogue ride through the mangroves, and then heading up to Dakar for the CRUISE. Im so excited.

Thats about it for news! I saw a chicken running around the compound the other day with a bra trailing after it, after somehow getting tangled in the laundry. Yesterday another chicken had an entire headful of weave stuck to its foot while it ran around. I find these things entertaining.

Ta ta for now!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Becoming Sexist.

The following interaction exemplifies your typical Senegalese male:

Yesterday I rode my bike into town to buy snacks, and on the way out, I had to ride in a small margin on the side of the road because of traffic. There was a 20 something year old guy walking directly towards me, with all the space in the world to move out of my way. I would have had to ride into traffic, or off into the sandy shoulder to make way for him. Of course, being male, he decided he had superiority in this game of chicken, and since there was literally nothing I could do (and because Im basically done with trying to accomodate anyone of the Wolof persuasion) I ran straight into him. A head on bike/sai sai collision, which I won. Obviously he was angry, but what did he expect? Next time...try being respectful and move. I also got called Honk Nonk like 5 times, which literally translates to Red Ears, and is extremely offensive, think the N word in America or Mudblood in Harry Potter. I dont even get called Toubab anywhere near my village, so honk nonk so many times in one day was a LOT.

Anyways, about 10 minutes later, a kid was biking in front of me, when he made a split second decision to turn without looking. I didnt have time to stop, so I ended up jacknifing him and we both went flying off of our bikes. I looked at him and yelled, in Serere, "You dont know how to bike! You are not smart!" It wasnt exactly threatening, and hearing myself yell in Serere I started laughing, and so did he, and everyone was fine. I doubt he learned anything though. The only thing I learned...keep wearing my helmet, and just stay in Louly from now on. Ill give someone else money to go buy me snacks.

To conclude a year of being open to this culture, I can safely say that if someone offered me the option to only interact with females for the next year, I would accept in a heartbeat. Ive had enough of this male dominance thing, be it a casualty of Wolof culture, or byproduct of living in a primarily Muslim country. Someday someone is going to say (inchallah) "Sarah, I Love You," and my reaction will be to cringe and/or visibly shudder. Not to mention a marriage proposal...I might involuntary slap some poor future boyfriend in response.

Thats all for now! Things are going well, as usual, and its still hot : ) Cruise next month, woohoo!