My village is located about 15km outside of the city of Thies. It is a tiny little village with a very convenient paved road leading straight into the city. From the city I can take a shared car (called a sept-place) to a neighboring city called Mboro. From that city I can take a taxi straight to the beach. The whole process takes about 2 hours, 1 bike, 2 cars, and 5 oranges. This is just one of the many beaches a can get to from my site and prompts many Peace Corps volunteers to say the people in my region are in Beach Corps. That’s fine with me. I’ll be at the beach.
Before coming to Senegal, I heard volunteers in small villages around Senegal extended bee keeping. I got really interested in the idea and started researching bee keeping and the different benefits and things you could make and sell through bee keeping. It looked like a cool project to start and I was excited to learn more. After coming to Senegal, I realized that African bees are NOT the same as the bees people keep in America. Everyone in my village is terrified of African bees and had absolutely no interest in working with them. Fair enough.
I am a really messed up human in that I do not find babies to be that cute. In short bursts they are awesome. They have big cheeks and make cute noises but then their noses start running and they puke on you and they cry all the time. I understand that babies are still growing and learning but I get unreasonably frustrated when they are crying and they can’t just tell me what they want. For this reason, if I ever have kids, I hope they Benjamin Button their lives. I say this having never actually seen that movie. I imagine just getting really close with an old person and then they get progressively younger and we can go out for drinks and go on hikes. Once they are babies I will be dead and someone else will have to take care of them. It will be really messed up for them but perfect for me. I think it’s safe to say I am slightly too selfish to be a parent at the current moment. One way I find joy in babies long term is pretending they are just tiny drunk humans stumbling around their lives.
My host mom wanted to take me dancing in the city during on of the festivals and told me to get ready. I put on my nicest Senegalese dress and waited as she prepped herself for the outing. Once finished, she came to my hut and saw what I looked like. My Wolof is still not very good and she talked really fast so I didn’t understand everything that she said, but I think she asked me if I got ready in the land of no mirrors. She started pushing me around and making disapproving clucking noises before concluding that I needed some makeup. I have been living my life so far assuming that if I never wear makeup and hope for a miracle then people will assume I look this way on purpose. My host mom was apparently not fooled. After refusing a few times, I finally accepted her offers to do my makeup and sat down to face my punishment for not being Proactiv-commercial-ready. She told me to close my eyes and started applying different products. After about 15 minutes she looked me square in the eye and said one of the ten English words she knows, “pretty”. I looked in the mirror and to my delight I saw that she had applied her foundation to my face and I was ready to join some racist 1920’s silent film. Then we all went out dancing and I got more than a few dirty looks as I tried to casually rub the dark brown color off my cheeks.
To the boss with love, and hate, and desperation,
I don’t fully understand the inner workings of the United States Government but damn it can suck working for a large corporation sometimes. Good thing the healthcare is included.
There is a French man living in my house for a while and he doesn’t speak any English or Wolof and my French is very limited so our conversation has been limited to me mumbling French words and polite smiles as we pass. He is trying to learn Wolof because there is only one lady in my village that speaks French but he did not have the Peace Corps training that I had. This means that instead of saying baxul (it’s bad) he says bunghole. My family understood him so I didn’t correct him and now I have found my own form of entertainment in Senegal.