Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nam naa la

September 2, 2009

The correct response to Nam naa la (I miss you) is Maa la raw (I miss you more). I thought this was really cute in class for some reason, probably because I do miss everyone at home, but I’m doing pretty well today. Another “good” day. I wanted to continue my Wolof lesson with a few words that I find really funny:
Jew – to gossip (probably a little to true for me!)
Joy – to cry
Yar – to punish and to educate (this should tell you a lot about early childhood development in Senegal)
Without a doubt my favorite word that I’ve learned so far and that I actually randomly found in the dictionary is:
Allaaxira – “remote place (where people go when they die),” then there’s amazing example given “Los Angeles is somewhere, at the end of the Earth, where people do to die.”
Too funny. Well, that’s your Wolof lesson for the day.

Today was pretty much more of the same here in the village. No rain, unfortunately/ fortunately. My roof is supposedly finally fixed. I have no confidence in this statement since the latest “fix” is putting a huge blue tarp over my room on the roof and fixing it in place with rocks. Yeah, we’ll see how long this fix lasts. I don’t really want more rain to test the situation. But, I’ve been completely exhausted the past two days (I think my adrenaline/ pure terror/ state of anxiety has worn off) and today I attempted to take a nap during my lunch break. I maybe slept 20 minutes until I woke up in a pool of my own sweat. I also slept in my clothes so I got to wear my sweaty gross clothes the rest of the day.

Speaking of clothes, Tamar and I went back to the tailor and I got my pagne! A pagne is a traditional Senegalese wrap skirt. Mine is blue and gold for Michigan and I’m going to wear it on Saturday with a UM t-shirt in honor of our first game of the season/ hopefully our first win. It would probably help the team’s moral to win the first game of the season… While at the tailor we also approved the design for our dresses. And when I say design I mean he kind of told us what they would look like and drew a sketch for us, which he then told us looked nothing like what he had in mind. Regardless, it was fun and he did great work on my pagne which has a sweet hidden pocket. My mom wanted to know all about the tailor so here we go. He is Tamar’s mom’s brother which is nice since we know we aren’t getting ripped off on the price. There is the Senegalese price and then there’s the toubab price so we have to be careful when out buying things. Also, Senegal is a Muslim country, but religion doesn’t dictate social contact as much as it does in other African countries like Mauritania. The male tailor did take my measurements and shook my hand. There are men here who do not shake women’s hands, but not very many. Also, I’ve only seen one woman, a language trainer at the center, wear a hijab (Muslim head wrap) although most older women here do wear a traditional African head wrap. I just saw my mom’s hair for the first time last night. It’s like my sisters, in small tight braids.

Obviously, the acquisition of clothes has made me happy today. I hope that I can keep up the positive moral and get to demystification. It’s only 8 days away! I can’t wait to see what PC thinks I will be good at/ if it matches up with what I want. I’m hoping it will cool down tonight so I can get some sleep. I’m also hoping me don’t have ceebu jenn for dinner, both are probably pretty unlikely. I think that’s it from the village. Keep me updated on your lives back at home! It might take me a while to respond, but I can’t tell you how much a simple email (or a letter is even better!) brightens my day!

Cyber café tomorrow!


  1. Let me get this straight: "Jew Joy" means to gossip until you cry? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  2. I want a picture of that dictionary entry on "Allaaxira"!!