So, ya know how I mentioned that this is just the place where I live now?? SO much even more so now that cold season is here. There’s a freedom in cold season that comes from the ability to travel whenever you feel like it because you don’t constantly have to think about heat exhaustion, dehydration, or sunburn. In the last week I’ve walked to my road town three times (back twice), and today I took a detour to see the well my boyfriend is having dug in his new onion field. I see a man from my neighborhood who Always greets me with my last name phrase of respect (Points for him!) squatting on the edge of the well. They’re champion squatters (amazing balance and longevity), but it gives me that squiggly feeling in my stomach to see him like that, so despite his being a grown man I say before thinking “you should scoot back…” He chuckles a bit but my comment is otherwise ignored. One of the workers asks me if I eat peanuts, and why. I laugh and tell him his question is silly. My gorgeous boyfriend shoots me a glowing smile, the kind that dimples the corners of his mouth and sparkles in his eyes. The worker adds, “I knew a guy that said if you eat a handful of peanuts every morning you can stay strong and vital 'til you’re a hundred years old.” “I dunno, you should try it. I mean, they’ve got protein so they build your muscles,” I feebly add… Yeah, I’m the one who’s here to teach about health… Caught up with some women from Fass on the path who had apparently gone to my village to get some bissap and peanuts (?? Something I don’t understand is going on there). When I got to Fass I was on “a mission to civilize” (Newsroom anyone? This is not, actually, a good idea) the rude children who call out “toubab” and then ask me for money. I called a couple of them out, asking if they greet everyone with a request for money. They said they did. So when a Senegalese man passed I encouraged them to ask him for money. They, of course, didn’t. In closing I told them “of course you don’t greet people that way. It’s rude. Don’t do it to me again.” Point of the story? If you’ve seen Newsroom, you probably know the result is you look (and feel) kind-of like a jerk/bully, and nothing changes in the behavior of the other person, but for just a moment you’ve made them feel small (which is, generally, a wretched thing to do to someone). ::sigh:: Well, onward. So, I got in a super cramped clanky windy bus-ish-thing and made it to town. I’m trying to live on the cheap right now, so I decided to get some street food. Got an accara sandwich, which is bean flower fritters with spicy onion sauce on a baguette. YUM! So, laden with my backpack, my Arabic newspaper wrapped sandwich and a large plastic bag of peanuts I’m taking to a friend’s husband’s house for her, I decide to get a coffee before I catch a cab to the apartment. It’s dark by now, but the streets are still bustling and lots of full cabs pass me before I can flag one down. It’s windy and cold, and I’m wearing three shirts, jeans, and finger-less mittens I found in our clothing exchange box (best.find.ever.), but I see Senegalese people in tee-shirts, ashy children in shorts, some wearing coats and scarves and hats… I get in the cab and offer the driver some coffee (sorry Virgos, but its rude not to, even with a complete stranger. And, sidenote, I actually take this very seriously. If someone is drinking coffee in front of me in a place where I cannot procure my own and does NOT offer me a drink… I take serious offence. If you’re going to consume something not easily available to everyone else, do it in private where no one can know about it. You save feelings on both sides.)… okay I offer the driver some coffee, he laughs with delight at my non-toubaby-ness and politely refuses. Friendly greetings and small talk ensue. When he lets me off at the apartment he thanks me. “No, you’re the one who gets thanks,” I reply. “Until next time, God willing,” he says, and I repeat “God willing.” And just as I’m about to close the door he sneaks in a “you’re really pretty.” I chortle and thank him, then go eat my sandwich. It’s really really good. But the cold has given me a serious case of chapped lips (chapped everything, really. Wish I had my camera to show you my feet…) and the kaani burns so bad I have to force myself to keep stuffing down the bean fritter goodness. 300 CFA, belly full.
Alright, well, I dunno. I had some energy to blog, so theres a little snapshot of an evening in the life.
Shouldn't I blog something retrospectively about Tabaski?
I'll upload pictures. Let me just say, it was awesome. Awesome outfits. Lots of meat and delicious yumminess. Fun dance party (?). Fun photo-shoots. LOTS of attaya.