Well, I am finally in
FYI: This is going to be a lengthy blog entry…potentially covering 4-5 days of my time thus far in
I arrived on MONDAY, September 8, 2008 at 5:30am at the airport in
At the airport in
Our apartment consisted of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining/living room, and a wonderful porch looking onto the street. It was a long first day for all of us, considering it was 1:30am in the states. There was breakfast waiting for us in the apartment when we arrived, it consisted of seven baguettes, “faux-telle”, spreads, nes-café (powdered coffee that is REALLY good), and lots of water. OBVIOUSLY WE’RE NOT FASTING! We were all so hungry that we ate so much and didn’t know what to do with ourselves when it was about 8:30am. We all sat around talked about who we were, what we study, etc….there are five people from Kalamazoo, two people from Smith, two people from Earlham, one from Swarthmore, and myself. There is also a group of four girls from
Our day consisted of getting over jet-lag, walking around
Day two, TUESDAY, September 9, 2008 began with me opening our apartment door at 7:30am to let in our maid. She cleaned the apartment, brought us food, and washed our dishes from dinner! How I am going to go back to the states after having this treatment, not only for these first two days, but also with my host family for four months is unthinkable.
We began our orientation program today at the
Day three, WEDNESDAY, September 10, 2008 has to be one of the HOTTEST days I have ever experienced…for those that think it sucked not to have AC in Italy (cough….cough….Jackie), imagine having the power go out about once a day…it just went for the second time today… and walking around in jeans and long sleeve t-shirts! BUT, I LOVE IT HERE and would not exchange this study abroad for anything!!!
Also, we started learning Wolof today at the
ASALAA MAALEKUM May peace be with you (hello, greeting)
WALEKUMSALAAM And peace with you (response to above)
NANGA DEF? How are you?
MANGI FI REK. I am good.
ANA WAAKER GA? How is the family?
NUNGA FA. The family is there/good.
ALXAMDULILAY. God’s Thanks.
In addition, I have started to learn the numbers, introductions, and presentations…in only TWO HOURS! By the end of this program, I will have been in Wolof classes for about 100 hours! However, THE BEST PART ABOUT TODAY was that I am officially moved in with my host family! I live with Mme FATOU SYLLA and her family in S.I.C.A.P Mermoz with lots of young children and grandchildren! I played so many games today and talked with my little host brothers and sisters! My host family’s children were adorable and asked me to play games the entire night, until I went to sleep.
The first meal with my family was wonderful! We ate dinner at about 10pm and broke the fast at 7:30pm. Dinner was fish and rice; it was very good. We ate dinner out of the same bowl and only ate with our right hands…this is a common practice in
Day three, THURSDAY, September 11, 2008 was our culture session day; we went over proper eating etiquette, cultural norms and taboos, and other things that we may have already done wrong on our first night. Our cultural session started after Val (
The cultural session’s best part was the meal that we ate. We divided into four groups of six and ate fish and rice with tomato sauce; it was delicious! We started our cultural eating session by washing our hands correctly and having all the females wrap themselves with cloth, so that they would have on long skirts. There is a proper way to do everything in an Islamic society, from eating to talking, and I love it! I ate with a woman who is an English teacher at the local high school and it was great to talk with her about her teaching and the clubs that she runs. I think that I might go and help her in an English class or with a club. After our meal, we had some of the best fruit I have ever eaten, from mangos to papayas to bananas to oranges! In addition, we had about 7 fruit-like drinks to try, my favorites were a fruit and peppermint drink and a very strong, cold ginger tea. I hope that I will get to eat more fruit at a later time…this lunch was definitely a fiber-overload, but I shouldn’t complain about it.
I am going to stop here for today…but I will pick up with more about my host family, power outages (have had one every single day), potable water, Ramadan, and more
MANGI FI REK. MAN JANGKAT LAA WAA
(I am doing well. I am a student in