I have no idea how this has happened, but it is now February, which marks the very likely half way point of my stay here in Dakar! Due to illness and business, I’ve been unable to write anything for a while. Unfortunately Vickie, my house-mate and fellow ‘British Assistant’, has been rather ill for a long time and has returned to the UK for a while. So I’m sorry If I haven’t been very contactable recently, I wasn’t purposefully ignoring y’all. I feel like Vickie and I are both pretty qualified to comment on many many aspects of the healthcare system here in Dakar, after these difficult few weeks, which maybe I’ll save for another time! But today I’m feeling a bit reflective and thought I’d comment on a few things I’ve noticed so far.
Here are a few things and milestones worth noting….
- When I first arrived here I was pretty much scared of everything; getting in a taxi, walking alone and eating pretty much anything everywhere. I think this is due to stories that I’d previously heard and the fact that I am naturally a bit over dramatic. Luckily now, and quite rightly so it is all very mundane now! There is no apparent risk, and these are all very relaxing experiences!
- As of a few days ago, I can officially make phone calls like a normal person with my Senegalese phone! And yes, it was much easier than previously thought. Better late than never hey.
- Some things that used to really grind my gears, which I can only explain as a cultural uncomfortableness (things British people normally don’t do) no longer annoy me any more, I have recently found myself clicking and hissing at people like everyone else.. oops!
- I’ve started craving Senegalese food, for example Thieboudienne (Rice and Fish) and Marfé (Beef in a peanut and tomato sauce) much more than ‘Western food’! Although I am still intolerant to many things, I’m sure my stomach is made of sturdy stuff as I often eat meals on the street (I know, sometimes I can’t help it) and I drink the water.
- Since being here I have tried Ethiopian, Korean, Cape Verdean, and Lebanese food, among many others. This is amazing considering as a child I was so picky I ate the same food every day for years and years.
- I now moan that it is cold. It’s about 24 degrees at the moment. I have certainly been ruined now, and I’m sure going to need an abundance of jumpers when I leave!
- I feel ever so settled here at the BSI, the students and staff are so lovely. I sometimes understand the quirks and how to get things done, and I have a good rapport with the management.
- Lastly and most probably most importantly, I have not yet finished the shampoo and conditioner which I brought from England, which suggests my previous house mates used to steal mine at university as I used to go through a lot more! You know who you are! But don’t worry I am far away now….
I’m so happy to be here experiencing new things every day. I’m learning so much, which I never would’ve in the homeland. Yesterday, Tambadou, Mouhammed and I were lucky enough to be guests on a radio station called Africa7 promoting the BSI and the English Club! I nearly lost all of my English.
I plan to write more very soon!