The internet has been out where I am sleeping (a wealthy area called Al Mahdi) so I haven’t emailed or posted at all. I am awake now at 4am. Went to bed at 9:45 so I’ve had a good amount of sleep but it stinks to be up this early. Caleb and Elijah are also awake and Sara just went back to bed. We’ve had some really neat experiences thus far and Sara and I are slowly learning some basics in Wolof. We know the greetings and some other words like water, etc.

A few days ago I sat in the kitchen while the cook, Soomba, prepared a dish called Yassa. It was so fun! I sat there with my journal and tried to point at ingredients and ask questions. Sometimes she knew the French word so I could figure out what it was. Soomba knows very very few words in English but the language barrier doesn’t keep us from liking each other. She seems so kind. I need to make sure I get a picture of her. (By the way, it is completely normal for families to have someone that does some housework.)

One fun thing I did today (or yesterday rather.. Dec 4th), is play with two boys at Grandma Jo’s house (Codou’s mom). We were playing with the tiny ball they have, just passing back and forth then it started to turn into monkey in the middle. Mostly it was just me in the middle because my soccer footwork is extremely poor 😉 I picked the ball up to pretend to make a throw-in and the boys thought I wanted to play basketball so we switched sports! It was great! They started putting their arms in a circle for a hoop. I think Sara got some pictures so I’ll have to share those when I’m back. I was so sweaty when we were done, whew. The boys were probably 13 and 10. One was Codou’s nephew, Moustafa,  and the other was his friend. The best part was when they started to dunk and  I was the basket haha. Most of the kids here are so kind. They all shake your hand from the age that they can walk unless they are “talibe” on the streets. The talibe are kids that beg on the streets. They run next to the cars… I can’t believe more kids don’t get hurt doing that. (Talibe also means “disciple”.. not sure what the correlation is there. Another question to ask.)

Since the internet is not so reliable I will end my post here… I wrote one a few days ago but it was lost because I was kicked off before I could post it.

I am taking tons of pictures and some video as well. We are having a great time here. Miss you all and GO COUGS! (Even though I just heard we lost the Apple Cup. Bum.)

Salam Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

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Day 1 in Senegal

November 30, 2010

This may be a bit jumbled because I don’t want to sit on the laptop for too long, but here are a few highlights from my first day in Senegal.

We flew in at about 5 am, and got to the apartment. Codou’s family is loud and wild and so stoked to see her! I wish I could understand some words in Wolof.

The food rocks. This morning (at 1:30pm when we woke up) we had this huge dish on the floor and we all sat around it and ate. Really spicy good food. Tonight for dinner we had a huge dish of fresh lamb. It was so moist and full of flavor mmmyeah it was excellent! To drink they have bottled water around, Sprite, Fanta, or this unbelievably sugary pineapple juice. It tastes like you’re literally drinking candy.

The roads are mostly just made of sand and the the drivers here are absolutely nutso. There are no traffic lights or signs or anything, and apparently there aren’t any rules either! There are piles of cars just trying to get around each other.
One thing that is absolutely killing me is the language barrier. There is one sister, Awmy (no idea how to spell it), who is 21 and learning English so we can talk with her a little. Oumy, the model who lives in Nice, France but has an apartment here where we’re staying, speaks English really well. But most of the time they are all loudly jabbering away in Wolof!! It’s so nuts! I can’t seem to pick up any patterns at all… the only thing I’ve learned in Wolof so far is “jiddy jiff” which means thank you. Again, no idea on the spelling. . I don’t have time to consciously write the way I want to but like I said, I’ll have to give you quick snapshots.
It’s really humid and pretty hot but not unbearable. We have AC in our rooms so that is something to be thankful for.. Anyways I should get to bed so I don’t get too thrown off and jet lagged. It’s nearly 1 am here. I probably won’t upload any pictures until I get home, sorry!

I am embarking on my next long-awaited adventure in a little over 48 hours. With immunizations complete, one carry-on bag filled to maximum capacity, and a passport waiting to be stamped, I will fly to a country in Africa the size of South Dakota. Dakar, Senegal is the westernmost point in Africa and a popular destination for French vacationers.

I don’t quite know what to expect, but I am unbelievably excited. Stay tuned!