Monday, September 26, 2011


Alright, so there’s a staff retreat every year at Dakar Academy in the fall.  They would have allowed us to take the girls if we wanted, but then we caught wind of another couple with a kiddo that wasn’t taking theirs.  Ideas sprung into mind.  “What?  We could have a weekend without the kids and relive our days of freedom and no responsibilities?  Sign us up!” Plans came into our minds like mosquitos in a muggy bathroom…I bet we could get a couple of the senior girls to watch Charlie and Maeve for the weekend?  “Yeah, that’s good.”
Needless to say, mom and dad were excited with the thought.  We moved forward.  Mission was accomplished.   2 nights away from the kiddos living it up with other DA staffers around the beach and pool and playing childish games was in our near future.  We anticipated much fun.
Friday night rolls around.  I (Kyle) feel like crap.  Wake up 12 different times throughout the night taking care of necessary functions.   Weekend of rest and relaxation and getting to know people on a deeper level turns into laying on your back for 2 days waiting for things to subside.   Faith puts on the nurse hat again.  I go home worse than when I left.  Faith’s in the same boat.  Africa strikes again!


Full disclaimer: The girls did great while we were gone.  We came back to both of them as they were waking up from naps.  Charlie came in jumping on the bed as I was trying to let my stomach settle…to no avail.  But how can you get upset with your daughter jumping on the bed in excitement?
 I feel MUCH better today. Its amazing how things can turn for the better…and worse so quickly here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Urban Myth Dakar style

I have the Apollo real bad.

The Apollo? You ask.

Hush please; quiet your voice…its bad, real bad.

 It’s red.

 It’s irritating.

 It blurs your vision.

It’s highly contagious.

 It’s… conjunctivitis (you might call it…pink eye).

 It was mid-July 1969. All was right with America. Children played in the streets. Neighbors conversed gaily with one another.  Doors were left unlocked. Cats and dogs were friends.  America was the place to be.  Gas was cheap.  Politicians were honest.  NASA was sending Apollo 11 to the moon.  

Senegal.  Same time.  Different story.  Mass chaos had broken out all over the streets of Dakar practically overnight.  Cab drivers with blurred vision were rear-ending each other. Chefs were misreading their recipes. People were tying up their horses in front of the wrong shanties. Neighbors were killing each other’s chickens for dinner.  What was wrong?  They had IT.  Yes, IT I say….the red, the irritating, the blurred vision.  IT was here. Everyone’s eyes were infected.  No work could be done!  What else could it be, but the Apollo?
 At the exact time that Dakar had an outbreak of what Americans call pink eye, Apollo 11 was landing on the moon. Coincidence?  Think again. What else could explain it?  Senegalese with puffy itchy eyes.  Americans sending space shuttles to the moon.  The connection is obvious.  Apollo caused the outbreak and is now appropriately named.

One small moon landing for America, one big eye infection for Senegal.

Disclaimer:  the aforementioned farce may have been exaggerated for our mutual satisfaction.  However, the underlying truth remains, Senegalese point to Apollo 11 as the root cause of pink eye. Are your eyes itching yet?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

14 ways you know you're a Kinsinger living in Dakar, Senegal

- you crave a cold shower at least 3 times a day

- you have breakfast for dinner more than real dinner items because you are confounded as to what to actually eat.

- you get a day off of school to celebrate the end of Ramadan, since 94% of the population is Muslim, rather than a day off of school for Labor Day, since unemployment is about 50% here.  (interestingly enough, I guess this shows that Africa has some democratic tendencies)

- you get your butt kicked in soccer 11-0 your first game (yep...11-0!)

- the temp in your living quarters is almost constantly a thick 86.5 degrees

- you have power for 8 hours straight and you think in your head, "Wow, we've had power for quite awhile now" ...but you dare not say anything for fear that it might jinx it or something

- maeve is constantly sweating and loves bath time

- a fan pointed on you is a necessity for falling asleep

- every person you see on the street you semi-recognize you feel the need to greet, as greetings are of utmost importance here...and if you do it right (which we don't because we don't know Wolof or French that well), - you will go through the series of questions beginning with how you are, followed by how your wife is, followed by how your family is doing.

- your kids feel like celebrities when you take them in a stroller ride, as everybody smiles at them and the little kids want to come up and just touch their hand. 

- it takes your wife 3 hours to make a normal meal that would otherwise take 45 minutes...and you think to yourself, "is this really worth it?"  ...and eating out 7 nights a week sounds like a very wise use of time and money.

- you sweat profusely while putting on kids clothes with those stupid little buttons and you all of a sudden don't care how cute they look, you would prefer a metal snap-on one just so you wouldn't have to sweat so much while doing simple tasks.

- you go to the store and anything Western, such as peanut butter or American cereals costs 3 times as much as what you would pay in the States...even though peanuts is one commodity they produce here. (this doesn't make sense to me)

-...and are all of a sudden the minority...and many of the ways things are commonly done here are foreign to you...and there's a certain sense of exploration and fun about that on good days and a certain sense of despair and frustration on all the other days.'s to living for a day of adventure over despair! I hope you can do the same!