Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rural visits

In addition to my usual sparse posting the next week will almost certainly have no postings. I am traveling to Ile de Mar Lodge (Lodj) for a week for my rural visit. Well, let's make that "rural visit."

We are supposed to travel to a village by ourselves, stay for a week, explore different topics there and then return to Dakar.  Alejandra and I felt differently about these requirements. After about 3 minutes of complaining Alejandra and I were set up to go together to Ile de Mar Lodj in the delta region, (possibly with a beach) and stay at an auberge rather than a host family (an auberge is another word for apartment but it really means a bare bones lodging). To be fair, we probably wont have electricity there and almost definitely no hot water considering we don't even have that in Dakar. But still we are very excited for our "rural visit" courtesy of Baobab Center. 

We return next wednesday sometime, unless we decide to spend more time there or come back early, and of course barring any bus breakdowns and so forth. 

I'll have reporting to do on that when I get back, but until then, have fun in you're non-village locations.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So I am working on my ICRP (InterCultural Research Project) at the ABMD (Academie Bilingue Montessori de Dakar). It is a bilingual preschool, and though French is dominant I also work in English and Wolof there. It's really been interesting seeing how kids pick up language and interact together. 
Past working at the school not much is really going on here. We are all looking forward to watching Obama's inauguration and that's about it. I can't believe I have less than 2 months left, I wish I could be in two places at once! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Greetings again from the lovely country of Senegal. I am back in Dakar after about 2 weeks traveling through Aberdeen, Scotland; Drodeghda, Ireland; Paris, France; and London, England. 

The trip started out in London for a night after i misbooked my connecting flight to Aberdeen to be 28 hours later rather than 4 hours later. It was probably all for the best as I was about 3 hours late leaving out of Dakar with then an even longer lay over in Lisbon. I arrived at the Park Inn Hotel and tucked in to a traditonal fish and chips dinner with mushy peas in the hotel restaurant as it was late, and I was tired and did not feel like venturing any further. I took full advantage of the bath tub in the hotel room as well as the TV with numerous english speaking channels. 

The next day it was back to Heathrow (delayed again) and up to Aberdeen. I spent a wonderful 5 days with one of my old roommates Rebecca, including Christmas. Aberdeen is a nice town, somewhere between town and village, with beautiful old buildings and cobblestone streets. I promptly headed to the shops with Rebecca to buy a more suitable jacket and scarf. We found a nice jacket (that goes mid thigh Mom) and a big chunky purple scarf (that's for you Kate). A rather uneventful few days were spent with Rebecca, though wonderful all the same. We took it slow, walking to the grocery stores each day after deciding what we wanted to eat, and trying to make it back by dark (4pm!!!!) which was quite a change from Senegalese life where there is no choice in food and it gets dark at 7pm. 

Then I headed to Ireland to meet up with Caitlin, her family and Kate Powe who were all staying together in Drogheda, about an hour outside of Dublin.  I was only there for 2 short days, but they we fantastic all the same. We went to some ruins on the first day and the next we went into the nearby town and saw a lovely church. 

The next day I headed to Paris to meet up with one of my freshman year roommates, Anja. We stayed in a great hotel by the Arc de Triomphe. As I came out of the metro stop I turned around to get my bearings and saw the lit up Arc de Triomphe soaring above me. Anja and I feasted on crepes, baguettes, cheese while I was there, while still trying to keep to a student's budget. We spent New Year's Eve under the Eiffel Tower with some other people from Kalamazoo, and others from Kalamazoo also brought in the New Year under the Eiffel Tower but unfortunetly we weren't able to coordinate so that we we all at the same part of the Eiffel Tower. 

The next day Anja returned to her study abroad locale in Strasbourg, France. I spent the next night at a hostel which I had been meant to share with Caitlin who sadly became sick and wasn't able to make it to Paris. The next day I was fortunate that my hostel had internet access and my Senegalese cell phone was working enough for me to call Mark and see him and his mom. It was really nice getting to see and catch up with people. Later that night I was able to see Erin who had been on the 4 month program, and had booked her ticket so that she could travel through Europe a bit before returning home to Texas. The next day brought me on the Eurostar train to London (I will always choose that option now rather than flying between the two). Orrin, a british friend from Senegal met me at the tube and I stayed at his house for the night, getting a great curry together and meeting some of his friends and family before departing the next day for Heathrow again (and again delayed, thanks TAP!) 

I made it back to Dakar around 3:30 am and finally made it to bed around 5 am. 

Today we are celebrating Tamxarit which is the Muslim New Year's (new year's part 2!)
In a rather bizarre way of celebrating, the Senegalese eat lots of couscous (Ewwwww- senegalese couscous. Moroccan couscous is good, but Senegalese couscous tastes like sand.) 
All the young people also dress in drag. Yupp, the boys become girls are girls become boys. I am in eager anticipation of seeing my 15 years old host brother in my host mom's boubou. I WILL get pictures of that. 

as always, there's more to write about, but it's time for me to get home and eat a mountain of couscous. More at a later date! 
Love and wishes in the New Year (which ever new year you're celebrating!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back in Dakar

Just returned to Dakar from a 2 week Christmas break in Europe. More updates later on the trip

Happy 2009!