Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Africa Time

Wow, it's been a long time since the last post. I'll lamely excuse myself my saying that I'm running on Africa time. According to the laws of Africa time, everything starts/finishes/gets done late. For example, if a concert is slated to start at 9pm, the musicians sit down at 11 pm. Sometimes professors don't even show up for class. Assignments are assigned and teachers forget about them. At first, this law of African nature grates upon an American to no end. However, after a few months, one begins to accept the slow, mildly inefficient manner in which things are run.
Let's see, since my last post, I've departed for and returned from my rural visit, which was in Yenne, and received the new computer!!!!
Since Yenne is the area of more interest to those who read this blog, I'll write about that as opposed to Gerald (yes, I named the computer).
Yenne is a moderately sized village about two hours by bus from Dakar. It's situated right next to the artist's colony we had visited in September, Toubab Dialow. I stayed with a true African family in an apartment complex/house. In traditional African settings, entire families (parents, sons, daughter-in-laws, children, etc.) live together in larger compound-like buildings. It's not uncommon to see 20 or more people living in this fashion. Each family has their own mini apartment, but they live, eat, and work together.
In my particular family, four or five families, with 8-10 small children lived in the compound. Add in the random friends and visitors who drop by, and you get a crazy house. At mealtimes, one ate as fast as humanly possible in order to protect one's portion of rice from all the small hands reaching into the bowl.
Since some of my family did not speak French, the two other CIEE students and I were encouraged to speak Wolof. Judging by the fact that we had all half-heartedly followed our beginner's Wolof courses for a mere two months, our conversations weren't all that intellectual (think pointing and saying "pretty!" which in Wolof is Rafetna!). However, despite the language barrier, I managed to befriend the woman who barely spoke French. Who knew pointing and talking like a two year old could be a good starter for friendship?
To be continued...

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