Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I hate Halloween. Even people in Africa are calling me a party pooper, but I've never liked it. I don't like dressing up, which is more likely caused by my lack of creativity and inability to come up with what I deem a good costume than anything else. Therefore, I was happy I was in Africa today and dressing like/ being a toubab is a good enough costume/ horror to small children.

Although I don't like Halloween I did attend a Halloween party hosted by a local high school's English club. The English club meets twice a week for three hours which I thought was pretty impressive and once a month they try and celebrate one American holiday as part of their studies. This month was obviously Halloween. Chris invited me to come and I in turn invited the Ladies Who Lunch (more on this later) and we had a whole gaggle of toubabs for the festivities. We sat on a panel to explain Halloween, recount our favorite tricks from Halloweens past, and talk about our costumes. The students in the club then had to write a few sentences about Halloween. Most of them greatly exaggerated the importance of Halloween to American culture, but their English was pretty good. A little better than my Wolof.

The real fun was playing games with them. I had come up with bobbing for apples and Chris did a mummy wrap. I though bobbing for apples might be lame, but it turned into a ridiculously competitive boys versus girls bobbing for apples throw down. We had to ask people to calm down because water was going everywhere. It was a huge success and the kids were really happy that they got to eat the apples. The mummy wrap was also hilarious because no one understood it. All the toubabs there were also very upset about the amount of waisted toilet paper that the activity consumed. There are some really funny pictures of the event so check them out.

After the class was over, the head teacher asked us to come into the lounge. It was getting dark and I really just wanted to get home, but of course we went to what I thought was going to be a meeting. He passed out some drinks and snacks and then just sat there waiting for this meeting to start for about 30 minutes. There was no meeting. We just sat around. For some reason this really aggravated me and kind of put a damper on my day for no reason because I had a great day. It was a miscommunication, but it is important to Senegalese people to just sit around... something that is obviously difficult for me to get used to hence my magazines, books, and LSAT books always in hand.

Before the Halloween festivities, the first Ladies Who Lunch date took place. There are six other volunteers within about 50k of Thies and everyone is a girl so I wanted to make sure we all had an excuse to see each other and created this lunch group. Our first meeting was great because everyone came and I think everyone was really excited to see each other after two weeks at site. It's very comforting to know that it still pisses everyone else off when adults ask us for money, people hiss at us to get our attention, constantly demand our bikes, and the other daily harassments each one of us faces when we walk out the door each morning. It's actually kind of amazing that all of us continue to get up in the morning.

It was fun and relaxing to throw back a beer and eat something that wasn't ceebu jenn for lunch while gossiping and being social. I know that I get to see Chris and Emily a lot since we're all in Thies and that I have pretty much everything I could want here, but it was nice to feel a sense of camaraderie none the less. Catching up with Katherine and Jackie was awesome. We discovered that we all lamely read each other's blogs and take solace in each others problems. Unfortunately, my leading lady Tamar, is too far away to be one of the ladies, but she is undoubtedly our patron saint and we will all reunite for Thanksgiving.

That pretty much sums up my day. I'm ready to take it easy tomorrow and potentially attempt to fix my bike which I broke my second day here!

Be thankful you all have American television. Things I have "watched" with my family in order of terribleness:

1. Pokemon dubbed in French (no joke! I saw my 26 year old sister watch an entire episode)
2. Indian Horror Films (please imagine Bollywood attempting to be scary and then breaking into song)
3. Spanish/ Brazilian soap operas that LOVE to zoom up close and personal on faces for dramatic effect.
4. Will Smith dubbed in French (Bad Boyz II should be outlawed worldwide)
5. African soccer games that appear to be recorded on cellphones the quality is so terrible.

I'm curling up with old episodes of The Office on my iPod tonight!

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