Holidays and hopefully getting into the swing of things now...
Joal Fadiout, Senegal
So I realise that I've not done a blog update in ages. It's not because I haven't been up to anything it just because I guess I struggle to put into words the amazing, although sometimes bizzar, time I am having here.
For example today I went to help out in the pharmacy and I walked into a consultation room to greet the doctor as is custom here and I walked in on him performing a circumcision. Pretending this hadn't fazed me in the slightest I completed the normal greetings (how are you? How is the morning going etc) and the doctor proceeded to ask me where I had been because he hadn't seen me for ages so I had to explain that I had been travelling and just got back. All this was happening while he was clapping the poor boy's penis. But keeping cool I finished up the conversation and went to say BONJOUR to all the other workers happily as if I see seomthing like that everyday. I ended up having a really interesting day at the health center (the schools are still on strike....). I went and worked in the maternaty/family. I actually justed asked if I could watch what they were doing but when I got there the midwife asked me if I wanted to write all the perscriptions. I agreed and she patiently showed me what to do. So I spent the whole morning writing medical perscriptions. It was an interesting day to say the least.
What did I do for Christmas and New Year? Well I celebrated Christmas twice once with my Senegalise family and once with the other volunteers on actual Christmas day. You will be proud to know that I made a roast all by myself for my senegalise Christmas, and it was delicious! (The kids here watch Dora the explorer to learn English). We had a really nice time giving the presents and then watching the kids tearing open theirs. After our christmas on the 21st we headed to Marieme's school for her school festival. I got some really cute videos of the kids dancing to senegalise music at their school nativity thing. Looking forward to showing you them when I get back. After the school festival we went "straight" to Dakar. we got to Dakar and were welcomed into the house. There was a lot of people there but it was to be expected because there was going to be a wedding on Christmas Eve. The next day I literally spent the whole day making benget (doughnuts). It was good fun but hardwork. We made enough to feed all the men at the mosque and for there to be snacks at the wedding the next day. That night I was so tired that I fell asleep in my jeans and hoddie. It is surprisingly cold in Dakar in December it's about 19 degrees centigrade. :D The next day was the wedding which I spend running between two houses because there was so many people at the brides house I was staying at another house. It is tradition for LOADS of random people to come to weddings they come to prepare the food (hey, I watched another cow being sacrificed), eat and basically just have a big get-together. It was pretty crazy and we were warned not to leave anything anywhere as it would get stolen. Little did I know that it literally meant EVERYTHING. I was wearing my nice comfortable flip flops and I went into a bedroom so I took them off because I didn't want to track dirt into the room I left them just infront of the open door and then I went out about 5minutes later and they were gone. Later on the day I was walking out the house and I saw them next to some guy so I picked them up, He protested loudly but I responed Sama Dale! (my shoes!) and walked off. The wedding was beautiful although i did another faux pas. We had bought presents for the bride. It is tradition to go up and get you picture taken with the bride when you give her the present so I went up to give my present and arkwardly stuck out my hand to greet her, absolutely everyone else had given her a kiss on the cheek but the habit of shaking everyones hands had got to me). Then I realised I didnt know where to put the present so I gently placed it on their food table and turned around to have my picture taken with the bride. All in all, I don't think I made a very good impression at the reception although I may have redeemed myself a little for having the guts to get up and dance. African style dance that is.
After the wedding we headed to Saly to meet the other volunteers and Lottie's family to spend some time being proper tourists abroad. I had another amazing roast dinner and we played classic games like charades and uno. It was a lot of fun. The resort we were staying in was SO nice and I pretty much just spent the whole time on the beach and at the poolside, the water in the pool was a little cold. After Saly we headed to Ziguinchor. SJ's and Lottie's home for the year. They have it nice there. Their own flat with working western toilet with flush and a shower... Watch out I might come and move in next door! But I love the family I am staying with to much to leave Joal. Plus I just got another class to teach, beginners English so now I have more work to be getting on with.
We are also thinking about starting up a music style thing because there is no music in the schools here. We are already running an art club which is very popular with all the students. We are looking for more projects to be getting on with because the school's are still on strike and it's a little boring waiting around for them to get their act together. Hopefully we can get our music thing up and running soon.
I meant to say, I found a place that sold popcorn so I watched a movie and ate popcorn, it was almost like going to the cinema. As such I don't really miss home comforts all that much it is just when you see things like Pringles in a shop that it makes you think of all the amazing western food I used to eat all the time. I have to say that the food here is so well made though, the amount of favours you can taste is extraordinary.
Anyway, that is all for now, I'll try to be more regular with my updates!
Ciao Ciao! x