Blackouts in Ouakam

Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 15, 2006

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Saturday, September 9, 2006

Bonjour tout le monde!

The past two days have been EXTREMELY overwhelming and awkward, but it's been fun at the same time. Yesterday, I met my host brother (Saalif - 23) at the SIT office, and I was so nervous that I thought I would throw up when we were in the taxi on the way to my new home. When we pulled up in front of my house I was thinking "Oh no, I can't handle this," because it looked like the house wasn't even finished! I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into a gorgeous home with clean floors and bright white walls, furnished with beautiful red chairs and a large TV in the main room. By American standards, it would still be roughing it, but to me it looks like an island paradise after Suffolk's dorms! I have a normal bathroom with a shower and a toilet. My family even bought toilet paper for me to use! I have a large room to myself with a double bed and a mosquito net. I have nowhere to put my clothes, but the floor works for me. My family has a maid who will clean my room and will do my laundry, but I'm planning on doing my own laundry anyway.

After a tour of the house and meeting my new mother (Maman), my other brother (Papsi - 20), and my sister (Aminhata - 7), Papsi took me around the Cite Asecna where we live. Almost everyone that lives in Cite Asecna is an employee at the airport, and everyone is extremely friendly! We met some of Papsi's friends - he's quite the socialite. We visited an internet cafe where I emailed my parents with a Senegalese keyboard that is extremely confusing. We watched some of Papsi's friends play basketball, and then we visited another SIT student, Madeleine, who lives nearby.

Walking back to our house, Papsi and I met up with Saalif who was sitting down to tea with some of his friends. We sat, talked, and drank tea for about an hour and a half before we went into dinner. It was difficult to keep a conversation going because they were speaking Wolof more than they were speaking French, trying to teach me new Wolof phrases. Dinner was some type of meat with peas and french-fry-like potatoes. We ate on the floor and my legs fell asleep. We watched an American poker tournament on TV as I met my new father who had just returned from work. I wasn't very tired until after 11, so I eventually went to bed under my beautiful mosquito net. I've been using my cell phone as my alarm clock, so I tried to just plug my charger into the wall as I had done at Suffolk without a converter, and all of the electricity for a 5-block radius blew out. What a way to make a first impression on my family. I fell asleep to candlelight with cats meowing outside of my room.

I woke up to the sound of a rooster in my window at 5am, but I think the rooster decided to go back to sleep because it stopped after a while. I woke up again at 8am when the goats began making loud noises out front. They're cute, but very annoying. Now, I'm at the SIT office using the wireless internet, but my computer doesn't have much power and I'm afraid to plug anything in and ruin the electricity again. Ahhh... I have a house!!!
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