Sunday, October 25, 2009


Last night's post was a little fire and brimstone and I think my mom fielded a few worried calls. Fear not, everything is OK and although there was some awkwardness this morning when other family members asked about the disco I told them I had messed up and we had a miscommunication language issue. Everyone seemed to understand and I think it's fine now. Being here is exhausting, constantly having to strain to understand conversation and pushing myself to be social is very difficult and last night trying to go out after I would usually be in bed definitely tried my patience. And for those of you who know me well I'm not the most patient person.

I know that Senegalese encouragement is disguised as sharped edged critiques and as an American it's very different from the constant praise and "you can do it!" attitude we get at home. While I know that most of the time last night people were just playing with me and not trying to be mean, it's hard for me at least to understand the game intellectually and not be annoyed or hurt by it emotionally. I'm constantly trying to understand the cultural mores and language here and I wish that people displayed a little more intellectual curiosity about the US or about my culture and my family. As I will no doubt continue to be in groups with my siblings' friend, I'm going to try and have a thicker skin (more sleep would definitely help) and try to come up with a few canned responses about the things I like about Senegal in order to answer the what's better the US or Senegal question.

Speaking of sleep, most volunteers say they've never slept so much in their lives as they did during PC and it seems like most of my friends are currently bored and watching TV on their computers, but I am BUSY! My counterpart, as you've all read, has been dragging me back and forth across Thies all week and I was really active this weekend too. Plus, my family loves to subject me to late night movies such as Bad Boys II dubbed in French. If you're looking to go crazy just watch Will Smith dubbed over in French, it's torture. That said, I'm happy I'm busy and keeping occupied. We'll see if my brain allows me to keep up the pace.

AS for today, I laid in bed as long as I could and then got up to help my sister make lunch. My family has been talking about me making lunch all week and today was the day to make ceebu nebbe or rice and beans a variation of the infamous ceebu jenn. To make a long and boring story short we started at 11am and ate lunch at 3pm. The ensuing four hours involved me cutting miscellaneous food items, putting them into a bowl, and then my sister telling me to put them in a pot. She did seem to enjoy my help or at least my company and she remarked that I was very good at washing dishes, which surprised her since I'm pretty bad at everything else. I told her washing dishes is pretty much the same anywhere you go.

After lunch I got a text from a PCV from my stage who was in Thies and about to spend a lonely night at the center, so I saved him from his misery and journeyed across Thies to the center to pick him up. Earlier in the day I had taken my adventures in Senegalese cooking as an opportunity to let my family know I want to cook for myself sometimes. And because they were appalled at my kitchen skills they were worried that even though I was going to cook American food it was going to be bad. Regardless, I soldiered on and Josh and I went to the market to get a pot and some veggies for dinner. I made pasta with pesto sauce my mom sent me and some onions and tomatoes.

My mom and sisters and Josh all watched as I cooked over my little gas tank in our courtyard. My family was beside themselves with my cooking abilities and just couldn't keep quiet. They were worried I was using enough oil aka I wasn't deep frying anything and that I didn't let the pasta boil until it was mush. The pesto also really weirded them out since green things are way too healthy and nutritious and not full of sugar for people to eat here. I gave my family a small bowl of my pasta and each of them took approximately one piece of macaroni and put it in their mouthes and threw gritted teeth declared the meal good. The bowl was still full of pasta when they were done. They obviously hated it, but Josh and I destroyed a huge bowl of the delicious pesto pasta. We both thought it tasted like home.

That my friends was pretty much my day in a nutshell. I'm exhausted and need to be prepared for another long day tomorrow. Off to take a bucket bath...


  1. Wow! What a busy week you've had. I think the suggestion that you try a thicker skin and come up with some clever "zinger" that you can use when your "buddies" are giving you a hard time is a great idea. You're whitty -- I know you can do it!
    So, Ms Titche, exactly what is it about that Senegal that makes it much better than the U.S.? Hmmm?

  2. By the way (not to change the subject), if you're interested in seeing photographs from Karen's wedding, check out:
    Event Name: Mark and Karens Wedding
    Event Code: 38367-mk