Dioss stood me up this morning so I had to figure out something else to do. That something else took the form of reading half of To Kill a Mockingbird, going to the post office - shout outs to Matt, Shirley, and Katherine for great letters - and helping Khady cook lunch. Yes, that's right it was Khady's turn to cook again. Even though I peeled and cut all of the potatoes and one of her friends who was over cut all of the onions we still didn't eat lunch until 3:30. I don't really understand how it takes her that long, but the result is always fairly delicious so I can't complain. We had some good, grilled fish, onion sauce, and fries which was a blessing since I'm currently having a mental block against rice, but that's an issue for an entire blog post.
One reason why it likely takes Khady so long to make lunch, especially now, is that Ahmed is out of school and we have no power. Usually he would be placed in front of the television with some old Tom and Jerry cartoons and left to his own devices. Now he wants someone to play with him and lavish him with attention. That's my job. No matter where I am in the compound I periodically hear someone screaming "go greet Jeenaba," and that's my que to find Ahmed and distract him for a while. Lion King is still forefront in his mind and everything that can be stood on is now Pride Rock and most of what he "says" is in roars. I'm currently trying to convince Ahmed that I am a much better Nahla than Scar, but he begs to differ so I'm stuck laying in the corner looking angry.
This afternoon I met up with Emily in town to do some work. We did work for a little while until the generator at the restaurant ran out of gas. Since we were both trying to do things involving internet we gave up entirely and eavesdropped on two American men's conversation until they too recognized we were American and asked us to join them. It's always fascinating meeting other Americans to hear their perspective and experiences in Senegal. These men worked for Northrup Grumman and were fairly interesting. What I realized during our conversation was the complete and total lack of any filtering or censoring Emily and I did. Usually when I speak with another American it's another PCV so that day's bowel movements, weird infections, and other gross and odd topics that aren't discussed are fair game. Fortunately, Emily and I had already discussed the odd rash on her legs, but I suddenly caught us talking about catrat.
Catrat for those of you who don't know is the giant, cat sized, rat that lives at the regional house in Dakar and has become our defacto mascot and, unfortunately, sometimes sleeping companion. Both of us were casually talking about catrat without even realizing how incredibly odd that would be to other people. In Peace Corps we all create a little world with a secret language, unusual social mores, and downright bizarre references. I'm fairly certain that I can maintain a normal conversation with people from home, but talking with other Americans here the line is blurred.
After they payed for our beers I headed home to make sure I wouldn't miss dinner. When I got home there was a group of Senegalese teenagers around my door. I greeted them and asked them why they were just standing in the street. They obviously didn't know me because they asked if I knew the house and the mean dog well. I laughed and said I lived here and bravely led the way into the compound as the boy held on to my bag in fear. Sure enough Misha, our dog, came running and barking to see who was there, but calmed down when she recognized me. In a strange way it felt like such a victory. It felt like I really belonged, if only for a second.
Messy, but Warm
11 months ago