Friday, November 5, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends

This has been a no good, very bad week. Almost everything has gone wrong that could go wrong and I haven't been in the most pleasant mood. Although I always put on a good face for my family and play with Ahmed and sit around, I've still lived with these people for 14 months and my host mom always knows what's up. I wouldn't be surprised at all if she can read minds. Yesterday and today we had lunches that didn't include rice. Hallelujah. The bad mood/ rice combination is never a good thing and I don't know if I would have been able to choke it down this week. Major points for mom. Plus, tonight we had chicken with Moroccan couscous and tomatoes, which is without a doubt the most expensive meals we ever eat and probably the tastiest as well. Dinner definitely helped my mental state after the day I had.

Dioss and I haven't been able to connect all week because he's been in Dakar or I've had to go into my office so I was happy when we has at home this morning. That is until I started walking to his house and had one of the most blood boiling non-interactions ever. It is culturally appropriate here in Senegal to hiss at people to get their attention. This is something that I will never get used to and absolutely refuse to abide by. I can handle a lot, but I cannot handle being hissed at. So when when a man hissed at me I ignored him. He hissed louder. I become more resolute in my attempt at a poker face and to ignore him. He calls me a terrible, terrible name for a white person (this is a fully grown man). I continue to ignore him because he's obviously not worth my time. At the opposite side of the spectrum are children who no matter how offensive they're being I try to stop and greet and tell them my name in an attempt to show them that all toubabs aren't so bad. The hissing continues and I keep on keeping on ignoring him. Then he calls me a racist for not talking to him. This is after he has already called me a racial slur. I was so proud of myself for not turning around and losing it. I just kept walking and repeating the number 47 in my head.

I always enjoy my time at Dioss' even when he gives me really lame excuses about why he hasn't written anything down in his accounting notebook or started creating an inventory for Artisan Expo like he did today. The boy/ man posse was all there so we all chatted and it does seem like they're going to start working soon. Next week they are planning on repainting the atelier and then Dioss will buy materials and get to work. One thing he's very excited about right now is the idea of making smaller canvasses because they will be easier to transport. It's not too bad of an idea. We also talked about getting the ateliers back up and going at the school we worked at last year. I hoping we can get in at least one atelier by Christmas. Another interesting Dioss fact is that he started some computer and marketing classes at the local college. He's paying for them with the money that he received when he exported the cards to the US. I felt like a proud mama looking over his HTML homework.

The rest of the day I spent sulking around the house, reading, and fake fighting with Ahmed. It's hot and nothing ever happens on Friday afternoons and I received a terrible call about a Junior Achievement debacle that will probably cost me the awesome, female English teacher I was hoping to work with. I will never ever understand Senegalese politics or the fact that when I state repeatedly that there's no money involved that people still think I have money hidden and taped all over my body.

My mood instantly changed when I got emails from home about New Years. My friends (who are freaking amazing) are starting to plan and I couldn't be more excited about seeing everyone. Just reading the emails and feeling somewhat in the loop totally changed my mood and made my day, probably my week. I hope the excitement and general feel-goodness last for a good long while.


  1. When you read this your mantra number will be 46! Your high school football team just won it's 30th game in a row 49-48!

  2. Alyssa,

    My question was why the number but moms comment explained that to me. We had our first snow flurries yesterday and there are two different boats on the lake with waterskiers today. It does appear that they are wearing wet suits, what whimps, it must be all of 40 degrees.