Thursday, December 6, 2007

¨We mostly eat bread for breakfast. Cereals are for babies¨

There was a riot yesterday. A little one. The administration is supposed to pay scholarships on the first of every month. The students line up early in the morning and get handed cash. They hadnt recieved the scholarships yesterday, so the students went on strike (i.e. no class). They had an assembly in the afternoon and somebody probably suggested that it would be a good idea to block the road out of the university. The mass of students filled the street and lit tires on fire and started throwing rocks at passing cars. They were pissed. I dont know how it all resolved, but the students eventually dispersed and scholarships were paid today. TIA.

Classes, dispite strikes, are moving along. I actually have a 2 page paper to write by next wednesday, A Wolof exam next thursday, and a history exam on the 14th ( does that always happen?). Oh, the classes that I am taking - or trying to take- are as follows: African regionalism, Sustainable Development, Comparative Political Systems, Problems of Social Development, The Law of International Negotiations, African Civilization Post-colonialism, History of Africa, Intensive French, and Wolof language. Thats too many, so I have to drop some, but which?

I start my internship next Tuesday. Its at an organization called Reseau Africain pour le Development Integre- RADI. Its a sort of ambiguous organization that works for the rights of man. They have different programs, including pro bono law consulting, community healthcare programs, and women's serivces. TASA's got nothing on RADI. I have no idea what Im going to be doing, but the coordinatrice, Anta Diallo, is so rad. When I went in for my interview, she kicked off her shoes and started talking to me about what I'll be doing for Tabaski, putting me at ease.

Speaking of Tabaski, heres my tentative plan, so I can sort out my thoughts:

Dec 16 - take bus to Dakar for holidays
Dec 21 - Tabaski with my host family.
Dec 25 - Christmas with Jills family in Dakar
Dec 26 or 27- Take bus to Ziguinchor for research and vacation.
Jan 3ish- Bus to Dakar.
Jan 4ish- Bus to St Louis

Question: To what extent is one expected to assimilate to a different culture? On the one hand, we are in a foreign place so its only polite to try to speak the native language and take on native customs. On the other hand, we shouldnt compromise our own values and traditions to please others. Where is the point that you say ¨This part of my culture is part of my identity that I dont want to compromise, so Im not going to give it up just to fit in.¨? Interesting....

Okay, gotta go. there are some things I want to Wikipedia because I wish I knew more about them, for example the conditionel tense in French, Emile Durkheim, and Microsoft Exel.


Anonymous said...

I heard Toto's "Africa" song and I thought of you as I was singing into a pen driving downtown today. I just wanted to let you know that you are Loved and missed :)


autumn brooke said...

you'll find your answer. just stay fixed on the ultimate goal/purpose of life in general... and it will fall together.

mmmm i love you.

Anonymous said...

You are so awesome!! Love ya, Mom

April said...

hey cath, i love the blog! have you considered taking the boat from dakar to ziguinchor? it's faster and sooo much nicer! you can just get a seat, or you could get a bed or even a cabin. as far as assimilation, it seems like you are doing a great job being open and trying new things. for me personally, there were certain aspects of american life i wouldn't give up...i.e. toilet paper. and i think that's ok. say hi to ami!