Archive for the 'Disaster' Category

Foot Update

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Okay, so I’m not precisely sure what “sprained” entails, but what we’ve concluded about my foot is that I’ve managed to pull a ligament.  The result is a stretch of internal bruising, which began to show on the outside yesterday morning.  At this point, I have 5-6″ (square) of bruised flesh, mostly red/pink with an increasingly purple ring along the outer edge.  At one point it looks like I stepped on a blueberry and simply stained myself.  ;D

It hurts a little to walk, but I’m not limping like I was the first day.  Really, I find it more intruiging than anything else.  As I know it’s not permanently damaged, I like watching the colors change and monitoring the types of pain I feel in which region.  I secretly like to bruise because it so rarely happens.

I’m forcing Daddy to take extensive photographic evidence of my feet so I can document the progression of swelling and color change.  Once it’s all together and healed, I’ll see if it’s worth trying to string them together and post them.  You know, in case anyone else is interested…

My foot hurts…

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

…because I sprained it hiking.  I feel incredibly stupid. I am now hobbling around unstably and looking incredibly stupid.

Oh darn.  I was forced to hang around the restaurant drinking beer with The Professional Beach Bums.  Guess I’ll just have to try again next time.


Saturday, February 16th, 2008


It is my mission to see these places before they destroy them.)

As of tomorrow, I have three weeks left to the day. I had my first frightening dream about going home this afternoon, while I was in the process of taking a 3.5 hour nap instead of taking care of any of the numerous required assignments I should be finishing. (Not to suggest for a moment that I didn’t procrastinate before, but Sénégal has put me into some terrible habits. Fortunately I’m still excellent at stressing myself out, so I should re-adjust to college life fairly easily.)

I exhausted myself this morning by going into town to search for gifts, and not finding a single thing. It’s not so much that I didn’t see anything that was appropriate gift material, but moreso that it’s hard to be treated as a tourist. I wish I had bought tourist-y gifts before I got to the point of understanding my surroundings.

Beaded jewelry, wooden statues of elephants (which don’t live in Sénégal, by the way), and all manner of other crazy things for which the Sénégalese generally have no use.

In this particular market, you are guaranteed to pick up a man who wants to lead you to his shop within the first five minutes. If you’re firm enough to shake him off, he is likely to call you racist. And then you find a new one thirty seconds later.

Lately I’ve been conversing with them in Wolof. They’re usually quite nice, and they don’t harrass you like some of the others. I enjoy the conversations, but the unpleasant side-effect is that you usually end up having to follow along all the way to their shop and/or get lost on some wild goose chase. I’m always firm about telling them that I’m not going to buy anything, but they never believe me. Even when I do plan to buy something, I NEVER do so in their presence. I always wait to shake them off.

There is one gratifying effect of the conversation route; I love hearing the words “she’s not a tourist” coming out of a vendor’s mouth. Alxamdulilaay.

A Typical Taxi Ride in the Streets of Dakar

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008


Originally uploaded by mouse.courtois

M: Asalaa Maalekuum – Hello
TD: Maalekuum Salaam – Hello
M: Na nga def? – How are you?
TD: Man ngiy fii. – I am here.
M: Man ngiy dem Point E; Piscine Olympique – I’m going to Point E, to the Olympic swimming pool.
*insert bargaining here*
TD: Fan nga jog̩? РWhere do you come from?
M: Amerik la jogé. Man ngiy jàng ci Universite Cheick Anta Diop. Yàgg naa fii juroomi weer. – The U.S. I study at the University here. I’ve been here for five months.
TD: Amerik wàlla Sénégal lan moo gen? – Which country is better?
M: J’aime les deux!! – I like them both!! (Notice the lapse in my Wolof. It was bound to come soon…at this point he continues in Wolof, and although I understood what he said I do not know how to say it myself. I continue mainly in French.)
TD: That’s not what I said. I said gen!!
M: Gen?? As in sortir (to go out)? Or as in preference?? What is gen?
TD repeats himself, but changes the sentence.
M: I said I like them both.
TD: If you’re going to speak Wolof you should understand what’s being said.
M: And how will I learn if I don’t practice what I know? Tell me what you said.
TD: I said *same thing*
M: Dégguma. – I don’t understand.
TD: Well then you should ask me what I said!!
M: I did!!
TD: Don’t you want to know what I said?
M: Fine. What did you say?
TD: It’s a body part.
M: Oh. (I think I see where this is going…)
TD: You know, like arm, or head, or ear, or eye…
M: *pause*
TD: Only men have it.
M: You’re not polite, so I’m changing the subject. How was your day?
TD: Are you married?
M: (switching back to Wolof) Yes I am, my husband lives in the states.
TD: Is he Sénégalese?
M: No.
TD: You need a Sénégalese husband. Marry me.
M: One husband is more than enough.
TD: No, you should have two husbands. It’s better that way.
M: No, I don’t think so. My husband pleases me.
TD: Do you have children?
M: No. Not yet.
TD: Why not?
M: (back to French) We’re students. We need to finish school.
TD: Has your husband not had relations with you?
M: You’re very rude.
TD: I’m not rude, I’m trying to help you learn Wolof. Has he? I could please you sexually.
M: No, you couldn’t please me if you tried. My husband is better than you. You watch too many telenovelas (soap operas with white people eating each others faces on beaches/other public places), and those are not life. You need to learn to respect women. You cannot speak to us like this, what would your mother say?
TD: *giggle giggle*
M: Yeah, okay fine. Have a nice day. RESPECT WOMEN.

So, what do you think?? Believe it or not, the whole thing happened in surprisingly good spirits. I would like to proudly call attention to my personal growth in the last five months that I was able to have a civilized discussion with this man, to hopefully teach him something (which I hope I did, although it does not turn up in this conversation) and to leave without wanting to hang myself in the shower.

I’d rather be walking toward this sunset again, thanks very much.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I could turn the act of stressing oneself out into a profession, as it seems to be what I do best. One of the most amazing thing about Sénégalese culture is that there are very few opportunities during which one can engage in such an act. Until…now.

It’s a shame that the idea of Going Home has to be present for the end of my stay here, because I’d really much rather not have to deal with it. I think the worst thing about study abroad at Kalamazoo is having to face another quarter of school, while you’re out of the country and can’t prepare for it in advance.

I have my classes more-or-less planned, but if I’m going to do a theatre performance SIP (large project equivalent to a senior thesis) I have to have a proposal ready by the end of April. That sounds like a lot of time but…I have no access to scripts. No books, and only so much time and money to waste in the cybercafé. That’s just the first stress-inducing factor.

My most pressing disaster is that my housing plans for spring sort of…uhm…collapsed in a giant heap of disastrous non-existence followed by my intended roommate ditching me. So. Uhm. Kalamazoo has to house me somehow, right?

Those are the two biggest concerns for the time, although I’m sure that I’ll continue to gather them with some sort of freakish black hole-like effect until my hair stands on end and my teeth ache. Life as usual.

Yes I am a tailor, why do you ask?

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

I haven’t been doing anything terribly interesting lately, which ought to explain the lack of postage. Unless you count the interesting headaches and upper spinal aches* I’ve been having, which if they insist on becoming anymore interesting will be taking an extremely interesting trip to the doctor. Oh what fun.

I did get my clothes back from the tailor with only a small amount of Playing Chicken, however they are not exactly as I imagined them to be. I anticipated this, but I’m still a little disappointed. The top of the two piece outfit is far too loose, and the dress…

This is what my mother had to say about the dress: “You should not spend any more money at the tailors here. You should buy fabric and take it back with you, and make things there because this is a pretty fabric, and look!! Look what he made with it!!”

Mind you, this was said all said in rapid French. Perhaps if I get brave I’ll take a picture of the devastation. Thank goodness I have a fair quantity left.

Tomorrow is Tabaski. I’m going to hide in my house until the sheep slaughter is finished, and then I’ll be celebrating with one of my friends as my family is Christian.

Happy holidays!!

* The spine is just when I walk.