Sunday, March 22, 2009

some pictures for you ...

Dancing at the inauguration of the Centre Culturel where I work. All schnazzed up in my Sengalese garb.
My classmate Youssouph and I. You wouldn't know it from this picture but he's the goofiest bastard.
Picture of the group in a small desert village in the north of Senegal. From left to right: Rokhaya, Namory, Charlotte, Soda, Eman & Alassane both in grey sweatshirts, Youssouph behind me, Pete down front looking like a badass toureg, Cody in stripes, Aicha in between, Sydney lookin all blonde out back, Benson hiding behind, and Marcel just to the left of the post

Night out a few weeks ago with my friends Brooke & Aissa

How to Scream Fire and Fuck for Emphasis

On other notes. The village was good. We just got back Friday afternoon. I was really pissed off and bummed out at the beginning of the week when no one was showing up for meetings, and then someone's aunt died and we couldn't do anything, and there was no progress (which you know how much i hate!). But after a few days, one of the herders took an interest and started working, and by the end of the week there was about 7-8 guys showing up, we built 3 compost bins and made 3 piles of compost. I translated the directions/instructions into Pulaar (not the language i'm studying -Wolof- which made it 10x harder - but luckily had the help of my amazing teammate Alassane). and I am hoping that they will actually do something while I'm gone. For the next 1.5 weeks I'm in Dakar I'm trying to make a laminated guidebook on composting in french and pulaar with pictures, complete directions from A-Z and a troubleshooting guide I made. So that's cool I suppose. It means I have a lot of work to do!

One of my favorite parts of my stay here is that we spend more or less every single day with the Senegalese students, especially in the village and we have all become really great friends. And of course, like any good good friends participating in a cultural exchange, we are learning various juicy curse words in each other's languages. Is it really heinous that I find some kind of parental pride well inside of me when I hear them use a well placed injure in the middle of their sentence? Most likely, but I enjoy it anyway. Our educational campaign of late we have coined as "Fuck For Emphasis". We are explaining how fuck is not just an insult, but a glorious word that can be used in a multitude of situations. It is the chameleon of curse words. When you use it, you use fuck, for emphasis. And our campaign is going quite well. We may or may not have completed and irreperably corrupted their english vocabulary. For life. And the best part about it, is that they use it in such creative ways. When I hear them curse, it is kind of refreshing. I think Americans have used fuck so much, it's just quite boring now. There is no originality in it. My favorite example of these refreshing idosyncracies was uttered by my friend Youssouph. He was being teased by a bunch of the guys, they were called him a clown. Benson repeating "Bouffon, bouffon bouffon! And he goes. "Oh yes? I am your bouffon? I will fuck you one by one!" Well I pretty much died of excitement and those achy tummies you get when you laugh to hard for too long.

Another fabulous story. I ended up passing out at the homestay in the village where 5 of the 8 boys live (we call it the Frat House, they call it the Chateau des Hommes, - it depends on how you feel about a dirty smelly room of perversion). And Benson (american from virginia always happy and goofy) and Youssouph (senegalese giant clown extremely lanky and eternally teasing) had gotten up early to meet Sydney (south carolina/new orleans firey southern blonde) so they could go to work on their school garden project. The rest of us are passed out or lying dazedly under our mosquito nets, sweating our you know whats off. And in burst Sydney, screaming. "Youssouph found his penis!" What? I think my stickyness has clogged my ears. "Youssouph, he found his prick!" Yep, I heard her right. "We were walking to the garden and Benson and I were a little bit ahead of Youssouph and then we hear him scream. And we turn around and his pants and shorts are around his ankles and he's screaming at the top of his lungs: 'There's something in there! There's something in there!'" Youssouph walks back into the room at this point, trying to explain that it was a bug and asking why we are all laughing at him. I look at him and I ask him how old he is. "25" he says. "That's just too bad." And I roll over and go back to sleep.

Also, when the children in Guédé (the village) yell "toubab!", it sounds like they are screaming "FIRE!!!". I almost shit my pants one night.

Also, I danced until 6 am last night. I am a little apprehensive that when I try to get up and go to the bathroom my legs will give out on me in protest of my antics.

That should be funny.

Much love, missing everyone!

Jessie "Nafy Lô"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dazed and Confused and other sketches from a morning walk

I saw the strangest thing on my way to school this morning. There I was, laxidasically trodding down the sandy alley that leads from my home to the main road. I was in one of those dazes, when you wake up and the surface of everything is fuzzy, hazy, and you bump into everything. In the US I would have blamed this on my overenthusiastic love for having a really good time. But here I think it can be attributed to the wooden planks that comprise my bed. They have a mind of their own, you know. Three am? No, Jess doesn't need to sleep right now. SLAP! Being woken up by a piece of wood bitch slapping you in the face is not something I thought would happen to me in Senegal. So basically I was tired.

And there I am dragging my feet through the sand and out of the corner of my, what? I didn't see that. And I keep on walking. Slowly. And then, no really, there is a boy riding a horse around in the middle of the traffic circle.

There is a boy, riding a horse. Around the middle of the traffic circle.

I did a double take. Like, huh? And there was a boy, riding a horse, around the middle, of the traffic circle. I was so tired I thought it was a mirage. And just to be sure it existed in my hazy morning reality, I stopped, to watch. I stopped to watch in the middle of the road. I stopped. To watch. In the middle of the road.

I am not the brightest crayon in the box. Not this morning anyway.

So there I am standing in the middle of the road, slacked jawed and wided eyed and potentially drooling. And this horse is gorgeous and the boy's long legs are dangling over the side in an effortless grip on the horse's side. And they are going around the circle. And it looks like he is a member of the Spanish Riding School going through his paces. And it's beautiful.

It was not until the viscious horn of an oncoming car woke me from my staring slumber did I realize I was standing in the middle of the road slack jawed and wide eyed and definitely drooling. So I carried on my way.