Archive for October, 2007

“I’m not squeamish.”

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Yesterday was pretty interesting.  Actually, “interesting” might not be the right word…

Two people from our group were quite sick.  Both were having a lot of pain in their stomachs, as well as vomiting and having diarrhea.  Somehow they managed to take themselves to the doctor, at which point they called us and needed money.

Two people were ill in St. Louis, but this was the worst that anyone has been ill.  One of the girls had lost so much fluid that she needed an IV, but now everyone is fine.

Three of us came to the rescue with money, at which point I had my own little embarrassing episode.

I suppose it shouldn’t really be embarrassing, and I should preface this by saying that there is nothing wrong with me at all.  Actually, please laugh because it turns out to be quite funny in the end.

I was feeling a little off yesterday.  Not ill, just headache-y and…off.  I didn’t have class in the morning so I just sat around, but once I went out and walked in the heat I got a little bit worse.  I realized later that I was pretty dehydrated, and that I’d had coffee for breakfast.

Okay, this is the fun part!!  Mix that with a rather stupidly bad reaction to being at doctors offices and hospitals.  About three minutes after walking into the office-which was a huge temperature change-I started to feel sick to my stomach.  So I bolted to the bathroom, closed the door,  and positioned myself over the toilet to wait.  This was all good, except I’d just closed myself in alone and instead of vomiting I started to pass out.

So there I was sweating like a mad person.  I could feel my heartrate dropping down to nothing, and without really deciding to do it I started slapping myself to stay awake.  I had the vague thought that “this is really stupid” and forced myself to continue slapping anyway for lack of a better plan. It finally occurred to me that I didn’t want to pass out alone in a closed bathroom in Africa when everyone was busy with the actual sick people, so I started to also kick the door and call out “Leah…LEAH…”

Okay, pause and appreciate the full effect of that spectacular image.  We’ve been laughing about it ever since because it just about surpasses being ridiculous.

She couldn’t hear me, but I eventually slapped in enough consciousness to open the door.  Leah came to the rescue (and had no idea why I was slapping myself), at which point I just remember mumbling “Leah…we’re in Africa…” before a very nice doctor scooped me up and carried me off to an exam room.

After testing my blood pressure and sugar, as well as giving me a completely unnecessary cardiogram-which determined absolutely nothing about my health, but apparently determined that I am “in love with three men” and left 12 circles on my chest where the blood vessels are broken-they let me out.

So next time, water it is.  I went home and slept off my dehydration headache, and today I am completely fine.

Oh yeah, and next time??  Some one else gets to rescue the sick people who don’t have money for the doctor.

Dakar, again.

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

I returned to Dakar and my family here last night.  I miss St. Louis, but really this is better.  Also, my little sister Miriam is visiting for a few days.  She lives in Kaolack, which is South of Dakar.

I’m pretty tired from travelling, so I’m going to go take a nap.  I’m not lazy…


Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Not much is happening this week. I’m writing a paper on Les questions sanitaires liées à l’aménagement du vallée du fleuve Sénégal (The sanitary questions/problems with the management of the Sénégal river valley). It’s a group project. Each American student is working with a Sénégalese student.

The Sénégalese students eat lunch with us every day, and when they come over they always say “nous allons à Kalamazoo” (we’re going to Kalamazoo), which is what they call our house. I do all the typing for our paper, and a lot of the writing too it seams…I get sick of waiting for her to think, even though it’s really her paper.

Papers here confuse me. All the Sén. students wanted to “copier-coller” (copy and paste), and we were freaking out. They said everyone does it here. I was assuming that papers here are not as important as tests and that professors mainly use them to see that the students are understanding things/know what the course is about, but when I finally asked some of them individually they explained that normally copier-coller is interdit like it is in the states. It’s just that this paper isn’t worth a grade for them, so they prefer to do things “the easy way”.

Me? I don’t understand how it is easier. That may be because I’m a perfectionist, but it seems that with copier-coller things wouldn’t fit together at all. We’re writing most of ours, but most groups are not.

I’m not sure this class is real anyway, and it seems like most people here are sort of brainwashed about the Sén. river valley and the functioning of the dams…

Anyway, we present tomorrow and return to Dakar on Saturday. I’ll miss St. Louis, but I miss my family and Dakar as well. I know a student who is coming here to St. Louis to stay for 8 months, so maybe I’ll come visit.

And remind me to tell you about Chiquito!!

P.S. This is my outfit.  It’s pretty loose in the waist, but it shouldn’t be hard to fix.  I love the sleeves!!

Cold in Africa??

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

On Thursday night I was cold for the first time.  We went to a soccer game to watch our friend play, and we all had goosebumps.  My hands were stiff enough that I stopped knitting!!  We were at the stadium from 9PM-3AM.  Ridiculous, but not too unexpected.  It’s going to start getting cold at night.

Here are some of the orange-slice figures I was talking about, among other things.  I had to make a second Flickr account because of the scammy photo limit, but I suppose I’ll figure it out.  I have some interesting plans for some of these drawings.  Someday.

Just a quick update…

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Here are *some* photos on flickr.  I hit my monthly limit for space (I’m kind of angry about that) so I’ll have to figure out what to do about the rest.  There are some knitting/sewing/fabric photos toward the end of the set.


Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I finally managed to upload a few photos. So far they’re all from Madrid, but hopefully I’ll get to Sénégal soon.

Here is the link.

Also, here is the link to our on-campus cow experience. Enjoy it!!


Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I started the Lotus Blossom Tank from an old issue of Interweave. That was probably three weeks ago now, but I don’t really have a great sense of time anymore. For the amount of free time I have I don’t seem to knit too much, but that will probably change soon. Or maybe just when it gets cooler and I don’t have to sleep all day to survive.

I’ll be done with a pair of socks soon, the Lotus Blossom tank is thrown aside but nearly finished, and the quilt is progressing noticeably (although sporadically). I spend a lot of my free time trying to keep track of everything in journals, and I seem to draw a lot as well. Sometimes I try to sketch my environment, and sometimes I waste time making little orange-slice figures (you’ll see what I’m talking about when I show them to you).

I’m feeling pretty lazy, and every time I leave the house with the intention of bringing my camera card I manage to forget it. It doesn’t help that our rooms here are air-conditioned. I feel so spoiled, but then again I don’t complain much. At home I do not like to use it, but…uh…Africa is hot.

I don’t really like the structure of the class I am taking right now, but I have a suspicion that their intention has more to do with interacting with Sénégalese youth than with the subject matter.  I don’t find the subject boring, but three hours of lecture in French is a long time.  The classroom has terrible acoustics, and my poor little ears don’t really tolerate it well.

I’m excited to go back to my family in Dakar, but at the same time I am really enjoying the time here and I’ll miss the city, campus, and people.

I’m supposed to be researching right now, shh!!  I don’t need to have research until after Ramadan, but it’s always good to get a start.  The problem is that I am ridiculously tired and have a headache.  Which don’t really lend themselves to working.

I think that means it’s time to go knit something…

Ah, posting.

Monday, October 8th, 2007

So I was all set to upload some photos to a computer so I could figure out how to post them, but just as that was happening we uprooted ourselves to come to St. Louis.

Look at pictures.

There are more on google.
St Louis is in the North of Senegal, and it is a beautiful city.  Walking across the bridge in the second picture is one of my favorite things.

We’ve been here a week now, and we’re living on the campus of L’Université Gaston Berger.  It is basically a giant nature preserve with a few roads and buildings thrown in every so often, and there are tons of goats everywhere.

The goats are one of my favorite things.  They are very healthy, and they’re all having adorable babies right now.  Sometimes when we walk around at night we see them just standing around on whatever elevated surfaces they can find.  Hilarious.
I keep putting all of my energy into sending e-mail to my family, but one of these days I’ll manage to post about more of what is happening.