Lu bees, yall? Whats up?
Topical comments on things Ive observed here; because this internet is too slow to post photos:
Im learning Wolof slowly but surely, alxhamdulaayla. Its more difficult because I have to learn Wolof in French. I acutally suprised myself at my level of french ability when I started speaking to the senegalese =thank you Chouse?= but it still definitely needs help. I can speak just fine with Moussa and friends in French, but I get tounge tied when I speak to anyone older than me. Its as if I forgot it all, especially conjucation. Oh well, its sink or swim here with the language. Most people speak wolof though, esp if theyre uneducated. Its not a difficult language to learn) the grammar structure has a simple set up, but there are too many languages floating around in my head. Meme; the senegalese will say one sentance using French, wolof, english; and arabic. Its tough to follow. Man, I love languages so much!
Teranga is the most important thing in senegalese society. Teranga means hospitality and it means that neighbors will go out of their way to feed you and make you comfortable. Even for an awkward toubab like me. For example, a part of lunch is always put aside just in case a neighbor shows up between then and dinner. Also; the whole community bands together to help those in neeed. Community is huge here. Eveyone is aunt and uncle and son or daughter to everyone else. It makes it difficult to tell who belongs to whose family.
Speaking of family, I had my first proposal of marriage the other day. I just laughed it off and used my handy phrase =Am naa juroomi jekker= I have five husbands.
Yesterday my brother Moussa took all of us girls to les Iles de Madelines, which is a set of 2 islands about 3 km off the southern coast of Dakar. First we had to walk to the boat shop, which was sweltering; but then we got in the perougues, which are large canoe things with motors that seat about 11 people. Then I remembered my love affair with the ocean. Oh my goodness, the whole experience was wonderful. Les Madelines are big rock formations and a National nature reserve where people can hike and picnic and swim in the clear pools and waterfalls. I have stunning photos. It was so so hot and visitors have to bring all their own food and water. Everybody got sunburned, but it was glorious to swim. Let me describe one moment that, as it was happening, i realized would be one of my favorite moments of my whole life. I climbed by myself to the peak of one of the cliffs, over the black rock. When I stood up, i was looking over the waves crashing againt the shore in a huge and beautiful roar. Warm wind, the sun on my face, the sound of the waves and the crazy penguin birds. Africa. Seriously amazing.
I hope I always live by big water.
We picniced on fresh mango and baguettes and cheese and swam with a fun lebanese family and sat in the shade while some people smoked. Les madelines arent visited very often; so we had pretty mucxh the whole island to ourselves. Jill and I took a hike up another cliff and we discovered a place that would be PERFECT for a wedding ceremony, in a little hut on a platform over looking the atlantic. She and I hiked to see the pengin birds and thats when I felt most like I was actually in africa.
Were all worn out now and sunburned. It was a much needed vacation though, because we havent stopped having events and classes since we got here. LAst night I drank tea with some friends and we watched highlights from the Rugby wold cup (which was so awesome by the way) and a Steven Segal movie. What a life. Im getting credit for this?
Okay I will try to post photos later;;; for now I might try to find some aloe for my sunburn and wait for it to turn into a sweet tan.