Friday, 8 February 2008

Senegal so far

Well, I arrived safely in Dakar on Monday night. As soon as I stepped off the plane the heat was ridiculous! Though everyone here keeps telling me how this is NOT hot. I however disagree.

I was transferred straight to my host family who live in a suburb called Dieuppel (possible wrong spelling here) just north of the centre of dakar. The woman I'm living with is v nice - though there is something of a language barrier! The main language spoken here is actually Wolof, although french is their official language. Either way, the way they speak french makes it difficult to communicate. I get along ok though - just mildly frustrating when the main reason I came here was to speak french. I have learnt a bit of wolof though.

On Tuesday I started my 3 day orientation, which consisted of looking round Dakar, seeing the sights, being forced to buy things and being taught a bit about the culture here. It's v hard to explain it all, as you really have to be here to experience it. There are quirky rules, such as you are not allowed to use your left hand for anything, as this is the hand used to clean oneself. Then there are the more traditionally based customs surrounding women and the huge family centred community. I can get along with the latter fine, however being asked every 5 minutes if I'm married or not is a tad annoying after a while. Even after I've said I have 'un copain' at home, they still want to know why we're not married - bizarre. What's more the attitude to women is v different here. Apparently, whilst in england no does indeed mean no, however in Senegal, no means try again. I haven't had any majorly annoying incidents yet but I think that's had a lot to do with the fact that I have been out with a young african guy on my orientation - they all think I'm his wife.

Anyway, I start officially teaching on monday. I've tried to visit a couple of times to get some planning done but both times they've been on stirke. Should be better next week. I think I'll be mainly teaching maths (yay) and french (hmmm). Should be interesting!

I've rode the bus a lot which for Ken Livingstone's information, costs 150 francs here (about 15p)!!! It's called Dakar Dem Dikk (Dakar come go) which I think is quite cool. The weather is obviously awesome here too. Not developped much of a tan yet though, however give me time...!

I've also watched a bit of the African Nations Cup whilst here which has been pretty cool! For those who aren't following it, Ghana were knocked out in the semi final yesterday by Cameroon. This was sad as Madam Dienne ( who I live with) informed me that Cameroon were 'pas gentil' and thus Ghana were to be supported.

Anyway, I've probably forgotten loads of things but I can't stand another minute on this keyboard - argh!! Hence strange writing structure too!!!

Missing everyone lots!

1 comment:

Hayley said...

1. Wolof! Yay.
2. Buy a wedding ring. Maybe. Stops all those awkward questions ;-)

Sounds like lots of fun. Keep enjoying it.

You'll pick up the special frenchness quickly I think. Then you won't be able to communicate with anyone in France though ever again. Oh well.

(first comment, I win. heehee. xxx)