Sunday, August 28, 2011

bugs, bugs, bugs

where to begin?  all week has been full of new and exciting things. talibe center (more on that later), drama club meeting, kyle and i's first date night in Africa.  all this and i believe i will write about bugs. awesome.

i kill ants daily. ants in the sink, countertops and the floors. no ants in my pants. whew! 

we have a measly fly swatter. it does nothing. the flies here are really fast. (or i am really slow) kyle tries to catch him in his hand.  Mr. Miyagi style. again it does nothing. apparently we are both slow.

cockroaches. i have seen 4 in our apt. one which landed on my shirt. where it came from i have no idea. kyle chased it around the house smacking away unsuccessfully. he doesnt like to hear/feel the crunch. i would say "man up" but i prefer to just scream irrationally. if only high pitched screams were lethal to cockroaches.

and lastly mosquitos!  if ever i am having self-esteem issues i can take comfort in the fact that mosquitos love me uncontrollably. almost to the point of stalking. they hang out in my closet, wrap themseves up in my bath towels, and buzz around my ears while i try sleep. i wore long pants to bed last night hoping to keep the mosquitio bites at bay, unlike the ants, i did end up with mosquitos in my pants.

itchy in africa, faith

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ramadan

when kyle and i arrived here in africa we knew we would be coming during the rainy/hot season and we were mentally prepared for the heat and mosquitos. 4 cans of bug spray, bug repellent clothing for each family member and raincoats were readily packed. we both agreed that we would rather have "the worst" at the beginning, knowing that things could only get better.
however, what we didnt know was that 3 days into the trip (is 11months still considered a trip?) ramadan would start. this truly does make our arrival possibly "the worst" time to get settled in. since senegal is roughly 90% muslim, most everyone partakes in ramadan to some extent.
Ramadan from faith's perspective...
is a month long time when muslims fast in daylight hours...fasting from food and drink and other worldly pleasures.
it rotates on a lunar schedule so this year is especially difficult due to the hot and long days.
apparently muslims can get quite cranky in the afternoon, so you need to mind your p's and q's. (whatever those are)

anyways, it has been interesting to observe...there is a call to prayer 5 times a day (according to my Christian Worldviews teacher/husband). it is not unusual to walk in to our apt building and have our guard doing his prayers on his prayer mat at the base of our stairs. for some reason charlie seems to find this the most opportune time to continually yell hi to him.
we (non-muslims) also need to be respectful of the muslims and only eat indoors and not out in public. while driving to the beach with some friends last weekend, we got lost so we had to hide our pastries we were devouring while we asked some locals for directions so as not to upset them.
apparently the strict muslims dont even swallow their saliva. i have seen a couple spitters!
even though fasting during daylight is protocol, the night is apparently a different story. more food is sold during ramadan here than any other month.

So the worst is just about over...approx. 10 more days and we will see the senegalese as their happy eating and drinking selves! 
bon app├ętit-madame faith

Saturday, August 13, 2011

hello...my name is maeve

hey there, i gotta make this quick. mom is in the other room taking a nap and dad never has a clue to whats going on. just wanted to give you all a quick shout out and let you know what the skinny really is. 
so most of you all know me as maeve, maevers or sissy.  today i turned one.(really my birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated it today, whatev) mom thought it was a big deal. what a nut!  she kept calling me her african princess. really?  could i get any whiter? 
                                                  
anyways it was a pretty awesome day. for starters we had rice pudding for breakfast (we eat a lot of rice around here BTW, tuna rice casserole, curry rice, rice and sauce...it is bound to get old soon).  then we all hopped in a car with some friends and headed to the beach.  i LOVE riding in the cars here. no carseats!  mom tries to hold me down but i have some pretty sweet moves to get out of her grasp. back to the beach...i attack the water. i must have been a fish in my past life. the waves and sand love me. if there ever were a sports illustrated toddler swimsuit edition i am pretty sure i would have a good shot at the cover. just sayin.

some senegalese kids came to play with us. they gave us cookies and picked us up and carried us in the water.  mom got a little nervous. i dont know why, again i say, a fish in my past life. i guess she was right to worry though b/c one little senegalese did drop charlie in the water and she got all wet and man did she wail. thankfully mom was right there to help out. some might have thought it was scary, but i thought it was HEEE-LARIOUS!
after the beach we came home and crashed. i slept for over 3 hours! dad had to come and wake me up. which i am very thankful for cause i had a party to get ready for.
all my friends showed up around 7pm. i opened gifts which were all pretty quality. best gift of all though was charlie having to watch me open my gifts and not being able to participate.  again HEEE-LARIOUS.

afterwards all the adults( i think that is what they call themselves) played animal charades. seemed pretty juvenile to me. all they did was grunt and howl and flap their arms a bunch. me? i played with my new toys and crawled around with Hayley (my BFF) and Charlie.
Finally the best part...cupcakes!

mom and dad made me wait while everyone sang some silly song and then i got to indulge in the sweet goodness of chocolate frosting and duncan hines cake. delish! 
k, thats all for now. i think i hear mom stirring...gots to get back to my crib. 
Maeve

Thursday, August 11, 2011

i'll try that, and that, and that

no surprise, i love food. i thought africa may let me down in this arena.  sanitation practices arent always a high priority.  flour needs to be frozen and sifted to remove weevils(ugh...shiver); who wants to eat when it is so hot. apparently none of the above have affected me like i thought they would.

kyle and i attended a friendly futbol game between morroco and senegal yesterday. i am not a huge soccer fan, but wanted to catch some culture. and culture i recieved, culinary culture!  my favorite. if i were to get a food borne illness-last night would have been the time. i cant resist cheap stadium food. our first delicacy was a frozen concoction made from baobab juice that is contained in a plastic bag with the loose end tied. to eat it they kindly wrap one end in torn newspaper and you bite off a corner of the bag and suck it out. AHH-MAZING!  next we enjoyed a citrus loaf of some sort. not exactly sure what it was but i wanted bread.  then a fellow DA game attendee insisted we have some bissap juice. minty cranberry juice is how i would describe it. after the game kyle and i were still ravenous. we decided since we had already indulged in some local street food that we should continue the trend and if we got sick then we wouldn't know what did it. we walked to the "meat stick" guy. i am sure he has a real name, but this is all i have heard him referred to as.  he has meat on a stick, grills it, puts it between a bread loaf with mustard and onions and some seasoning and calls it good. and man is it! 

best part is, kyle and i both feel great 24 hours later. 

Baobab tree


frozen baobab juice (those are plastic bags, mind you...filled with goodness!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

come to my shop..just look no buy

As part of new staff orientation we went on a condensed city tour saturday. 8 toubabs (white people) smushed into a white dakar academy van and dodged our way around town. literally dodged, the driving around here is insane. kyle will have a great time once he gets behind the wheel!

the highlight was an artisan village across town. the creativity and skill was amazing. and most done right before your eyes...men sitting on stumps carving out women and elephants from logs, scraping leather for book bindings, women hand stitching stuffed dolls...smell of urine and the constant heckling of merchants only enhanced the experience! 

to barter and to say no is a must for market shopping! even though the people typically only speak either french or wolof (local tribal language) all seem to have picked up on a few english phrases.  miss, miss, come see my shop!  no buy just look!  make me so happy!  i was exhausted after shopping from constantly smiling and saying "no merci." 
i did indulge on a few items, one being an african print dress for miss maeve's 1st bday. i was quite proud of my bartering skills, talking the lady down from 4,000 cfa to 2,000 cfa.
bartering a totally new concept for me, a way of life for my "craigslist loving" husband.  sometimes i think kyle may have some senegalese roots...

the learning experience behind it all was really that the senegalese truly do want you to see their creations. to them that in and of itself shows you value them. to buy is icing on the cake...

come and see my blog, make me so happy, faith

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

eternal camping

some things here take getting used to!  here is my short list thus far
1. my blog shows up in french here so i have no idea how to modify the site
2. i currently have to walk down 3 stories, cross a dirt path and climb 4 stories to a rooftop to do laundry.
3. water buckets in the bathrooms and kitchens which need to be refilled once or twice a week just in case the water goes out.
4. bleaching all fruit and vegetables and even eggs before eating
5. electicity has a mind of its own. it has gone out 3 times in the last 30mins. which makes writing this blog difficult. yesterday it was out for a total of 13hrs.
6. ironing all the laundry. no mango flies here please!
7.skirts, skirts, and more skirts