Dude, Where's My Mosquito Net?

Trip Start Jun 21, 2014
Trip End Aug 02, 2014

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is exactly how I asked my host mom where my mosquito net is. (Kidding. Well, kind of since I still don't have a net.) 

 We got our host families! My house is GORGEOUS! In Senegal, they often have large families in one house since it is an extremely communal lifestyle. I'll try to take some pictures once I stop sweating like a football player at the beach in July. I'm not entirely sure who is who in the house but there are definitely the five grandchildren. They're super cute but the cutest one is obviously the baby named Elizabeth. There's also another student staying here, James. He's studying abroad from Ghana and he's been one of the most helpful people I could have asked for. Fun fact, Ghana's official language is English.... I literally had no idea that any other area on the African continent besides South Africa spoke English... Sometimes I hate being American.

Today was "cultural orientation" and it was A LOT to take in. Coming from America, which is a relatively low-context culture, we have to adjust to a culture that is more or less the exact opposite. For example, as a woman, we shouldn't smile at other people that we don't know on the streets because it ultimately means we wouldn't mind having a romantic encounter with whichever male we smile at. Being passive and habitually un-opinionated is not my strong point so.... we'll see how this goes.

Also with the orientation, they explained that there may be a lot of different religions in the area but being religious in Senegal comes second to being a part of the community. It's hard to set aside the "every man for himself" mentality. Like, I still can't wrap the idea in my head around the fact that people are excited to have random people come in and use their bathroom. I cringe whenever one of my guy friends tell me they're going to pee in my bathroom, let alone a stranger.

O no, I just told one of the granddaughters girls are perfectly capable of doing everything boys are. Let's hope my French was bad enough so whatever I said didn't even make sense. They're going to deport me. You'd think after an entire day of cultural orientation I'd take a hint. I should just be mute for the rest of the trip.

Wish me luck....
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