Sunday, May 16, 2010

first lasts

To bookend my post of first firsts, I'd like to make note of my first lasts from the past few days.

  • Last time working out at Gym Olympique on la Corniche Ouest.  Said goodbye to one of the friendly coaches there who knew me.  My other friends who I had met there weren't around on a Saturday morning, sadly.
  • Last time doing my laundry by hand on the roof.  (Actually, I tend to think that I will do this again before Tuesday.)
  • Last class at the WARC, a final History presentation and lecture last Tuesday.  And my last assignment, my final paper for History, which I emailed to my professor on Friday.
The scary part is knowing that there are other lasts that I haven't realized yet, because I can't know whether they will happen again before I leave.  Was it my last time at Marche Sandaga yesterday?  Was it my last time at that beautiful beach on Corniche Est the day before, the evening when the Wells College group of girls flew home?  Who knows.

Now to cover the events this past week: Wednesday afternoon we had a "re-entry" session at WARC where we were prepared for some symptoms of reverse culture shock.  Unfortunately, there's no way to be immune, so we just listened and learned that we would learn how to cope.  And then we had a little party, which featured mountains of fataya (fried dumplings), nems (egg rolls), and cake, as well as all the bouye and bissap juice you could ever drink.  After filling our bellies, we then took photos, because we had all dressed up, Senegalese-style.

Everybody's booty looks good in a pagne (?) skirt.

Then, that night, a group of us who had signed up to participate in a peace conference hopped on a bus to go to a concert of big Senegalese stars who would be singing for peace, tolerance, and understanding.  We didn't understand most of the words, but we danced.

One of the big stars, Tete ("tee-tee"), on the stage and on the screen.

We were there at the big stadium Leopold Sedar Senghor (named after Senegal's first president) until midnight, and went home on the bus, and then got up around 6am to get to the Embarcadere de Goree and to the conference location on the island.  While we were all happy to get a backstage pass to the concert and a free ticket to Goree, but general agreement was that this was a huge waste of money that could be better spent on more practical initiatives than the obnoxiously vague and optimistic goals of our meeting.  We were also exhausted, and this might have contributed to our crankiness.  Then we shopped and took the ferry back to Dakar.  I went to bed at 9pm for the first time in a very long time, and it felt wonderful.

Today I'm off to the Mermoz beach to make ataaya and do "fitness."  I'll be enjoying the sea and the company of my family and friends.  I'm also slowly packing.  

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