I’m slowly learning my way around Dakar. The transportation here is crazy. As a health and safety precaution, my program’s studentswere instructed to only take taxis, yet taxis mean bartering for the price in Wolof! This is probably the thing that gives me the most stress in Senegal. The taxi men try to charge me two to three times the normal price. In retrospect it’s about $3 instead of $1.50 for a 15 minute taxi ride, but sometimes I still barter with 3 or 4 taxis before I either get a good price or I decide to walk.School is going well. The French education system is a lot more laid back without a definite plan for each class. I feel as though we go on tangents a lot and I’m never sure if I’m learning the right things. I decided that the key to school is to learn something, anything, and I feel like that is happening. Although, most of the time I wish I wasn’t confined to a classroom. Besides taking five classes, I have an internship helping out at orphanages and schools around Dakar, I’m teaching English two nights a week, and Ihave been involved with church activities for the two young women that live here. Side note about church– We have 3 baptisms this Saturday here in Senegal!!! Woot! My little group of 12 church members has become a home away from home!
Being involved in all of these activities leads to a very busy schedule, and I usually end up leaving my house around 7:30am and getting home around 8:00pm. When I get home, I make sure to talk to my host family for at least an hour or two to show that I appreciate them, and then I pass out under my mosquito net until my 6:30am alarm goes off or I hear the Muslim call to prayer from the mosque down the street at 5:30 in the morning.
This past weekend the program took a vacation to a resort in Toubab Dilaow which is about an hour drive outside of Dakar, on the coast. When I was there, I was able to learn batik- a Senegalese art of dye-ing fabric and painting with hot wax to prevent parts of the fabric from dyeing. I also learned some traditional dancing. We had excellent food and had a great time swimming in the ocean. It was gorgeous!!