Gej naa la gis, everyone! It's been a while!
So much has been happening...I'll fill you in quickly before I have to catch my 3 am bus ride to the other corner of the State of Senegal.
Yes I, Catherine Lori Skroch, and im the posession of one (1) round-trip airplane ticket to MOROCCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a serious dream that came true through a series of unexpected but much prayed-for miracles. I had a peace about the fact that if I was to go to Morcocco, it would have to be all God's doing. He showed up in a big way and I will be in Casablanca, Marrakech, and Essouira from March 27- April 7, with Jill and Claire. If you read my first blog entries, you find that two of my goals for Senegal include 1. learning to surf, and 2. Going to Morocco. I've wanted to go ever since I read an article about it in National Geographic when I was about 9. Excitement!!
What's been happening on campus? I just (finally) finished exams today. Gosh, that was such a long, drawn-out process, with exams being cancelled and rescheduled and professors not showing up and me not knowing the material. I think I did alright, overall, but its near impossible to tell. Technically, the new semester starts this thursday, but that is kind of flexible. Im excited to pick some new, interesting classes, but my two political science classes last all year.
This past weekend, my second favorite hip hop group of all time, Daara J, came to campus! It was sick. I paid $20 to see them in Madison, and here they show up on my front doorstep. Literally...the band members were staying in my neighbor's room! They were so rad. They got a kick out of my elementary Wolof and invited me to the concert that they were playing in town after their show on campus. As it was the World Women's Day, they recited poetry in Wolof, French, and English and we danced until 3:30 am.
This morning at 3 am, Im going to Nikolokoba National Park in the Tambacounda region of Senegal, which is, if you look at a Senegalese map, in the exact opposite corner of the country from where I am now. It is in Casamance, next to Guinea-Bissau, and we have to drive around the Gambia. We'll be traveling until the 16th. We're leaving at 3 am because the trip should take about 20 hours. All of us Toubab women are going with one ballsy English professor, Mr. Barry, and his student assistant...who is also rather goor-goorlu. I'm so glad we're going with Barry. He's this kind old grandpa type who is so intelligent and funny and caring. He helped me a lot with my research on the Casamance, as he's from Tamba. As Jill and Claire say, he's yuppie. He wears classy sweatervests and I hear he buys expensive pasta from the Toubab grocery store in town. But you know the rumor weed...
Anyway, we're going to be going on safaris and visiting villages in Basari Country and hiking the mountains to the waterfalls and being all-around touristy. It's nice to have this from time to time and its such a blessing to be able to escape campus for a while. On trips like this, my alter-ego Cathy always makes a few appearances. Cathy is this 50-year-old soccer mom/travel agent with a little wild streak, married to Tim the financial planner. The girls and I have been elaborating her story since we arrived in Senegal...It's kind of sad, but very amusing when we are in big groups of tourists. I dont know why I'm writing this. It probably sounds creepy.
In any case, we'll be full-out tourists for a few days. OOH, I hope I see some lions!
Other travels: Next week, I'm going with Omar and friends to the Maggal des Tijans in Tiouauan. What does that mean? It's an Islamic pilgrimage to a holy city (Tiouauan) in Senegal, with one sect of Islam here (the Tijans). We'll be spending one night in the city, where everything is free: food and lodging are all payed for in the city by the Muslim leaders. I dont really know what I will do...I cant really go into the mosque, but they may let me into the women's circuit. Everybody prays and sings and recites the Koran all night and all day. I'm curious to see how it all works.
So! March is full. Yes!!! Classes are kind of hazy now, because 1. The vacation of easter 2. The vacation of spring (when Im going to le Maroc) and 3. The vacation that President Abdoulaye Wade has declared for the Conference des Organisations Islamiques which is being held in Dakar this year.
I've got a long drive ahead of me. These moments of pure potentiel are my favorites...