Monday, May 24, 2010

(re)adjustment, continued

[NOTE: I began this post yesterday, a Sunday.]

Dad's making spaghetti for dinner.  I sit fresh from a (hot) shower in my room, at home in Vermont, on my laptop with wireless internet, looking out onto the garden and the bushy green rhubarb, and listening to the washing machine whirling away downstairs.  Dakar is almost unimaginable...almost.

Dad with the green watering can,
the afternoon that I got back from the airport

Sundays are always tired days in Dakar.  Saturday night is for staying out late, and Sunday morning is for sleeping in.  Aysha and Fana get up and take (bucket) showers in their separate bathrooms around noon; Ousmane and Djim might well keep snoozing until lunch, around 2 or 2:30 in the sunny courtyard.  Then back to nap some more, watch TV, talk on Skype, drink ataaya, maybe go to the beach to do "fitness."  Dinner every other week is ngalax, which requires no real cooking.

Never had I ever appreciated Sunday as a day of rest until I experienced it in Dakar.  There's no one out in the streets.  Some stores don't open, though the downtown is still doing business.  Nothing could be considered demanding, pressing, or urgent on a Sunday.

Packing my suitcase to come home

I keep one clock on Dakar time: 4 hours ahead.  Jet-lag hasn't really gotten to me yet.

I've already gotten several phone calls: from Ousmane, from Nassouri (former guardian), and from Mamadou (a fruit-seller at the end of the road my house is on).  I'm incredibly complimented that they have made the effort.  Phone calls to the States are expensive, and all they seem to want during our brief conversations is to hear that I'm home safely and to make sure everything is going fine ("ça va?").  Keeping in contact will be both a joy and a responsibility.  I'm frustrated that my cell phone plan doesn't include international service, so I'll be looking for more ways to use Skype--both to call cell phones and to use through my cell phone.  I have these connections, and now I begin the work of maintaining them.

View from the plane, sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean

I haven't really tried to explain the experience yet to anyone.  I've been shy--not reaching out to contact my friends the way I should.  I just got back from "Africa."  How to describe it?  That's really the purpose of this blog: to distill my thoughts and to serve as an introduction to the whole idea of studying abroad, "Africa," and even "America."  The best I can do is to encourage everyone who has the ability to go, and for a period longer than a vacation...and then, go back.

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