Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Best Game

Last night I had a complete mental breakdown over a flashlight. Yes, a small piece of plastic with a battery that shines light. I sobbed in my bed, in the dark over a flashlight. It was sad. Senegal is really getting to me. The power was out last night and I had already eaten dinner so instead of staring (but not seeing) my family in the dark as we sat in silence I decided to go to my room and read in bed. The time was 10:35pm, not a weird time to go to bed. My door was closed, I was in my PJs, and I was enjoying a nice fashion magazine. Awa bursts into my room and demands the flashlight so she can heat up dinner for the rest of my family. Yes, it's not abnormal for them to eat at 11pm. I hesitated for a second since I was in bed reading, but in a blink the flashlight was out of my hand and I was having a temper tantrum in my bed.

The thin, thin line between family member, house guest, friend, and meal ticket is really getting to me. Everything is getting to me. I am a trusted confident and babysitter one minute and asked for additional money (I already pay A LOT) for food the next. My gas tank, matches, and other personal effects are taken because I shouldn't care right? and then I'm treated with respect and eat with my dad. I can't pull water, but I can't ask for water to be pulled because there isn't any. I want to be a normal adult so badly. Crying in ones bed in the dark doesn't usually denote maturity, but I did get over it just not before letting fly a string of profanities into my pillow.

Everything is driving me crazy and in my slow devolution back to my easily aggravated state of PST, I'm attracting crazy. Yesterday I was walking down the street when a man walked by me and pretty much gave me a noogie and tried to pull my ponytail out. Why? No idea. I started yelling at the top of my lungs at how terrible a man he was and pointing at him so that the busy street pull of people could see him. Or today when a man had to grab my arm to tell me that he needed a beautiful second wife like me. You are creepy. Stop. Not to mention all of the men on the street making kissing noises. A word to the wise: toubabs are not deaf; I'm ignoring you. And people are just catching on to this. As I was walking down my street today boys my age were making lewd comments and I was ignoring them, but when small children run up and want to shake my hand and ask questions I always take the time to talk (children are our future after all). The boys just started commenting on the fact that for some magical reason I somehow hear the nice children, but don't hear them. Who would have thought? There was also a boy who hit me with a clot of dirt shot with a slingshot. Lets just say that his mother wasn't too pleased with him after I literally dragged him to her and explained what happened. I seriously need some crazy repellent.

After my exhausting day of artisans yesterday and my general annoyance with the vast majority of Senegalese men, I was dreading Junior Achievement today. Especially because Kerry is out of town so I was flying solo and had to teach The Best Game. The Best Game is pretty much the Game Of Life and teaches basic finances and calendar planning. It is a no fail business lesson. Everyone always loves it. I planned to meet all the teachers in the teacher lounge 30 minutes before class so I could explain it to them. A terrible process to be sure. So, I was ecstatic when one of the teachers knew the game and wanted to teach it.

In The Best Game groups make paper hats which they then sell. The teams need to figure out that they have to take the risk to produce the hats in order to generate profit and be successful at the game. I spoke with the teacher before class started about giving quick instructions because we wanted the students to figure things out for themselves. It's best when one team epically fails and one team does well so we can discuss the differences in strategy. 47 minutes later, after I had written a journal entry, planned out the next week on my calendar, and texted back and forth with a few people, the teacher finished his explanation of the game. This is not a joke. He literally took 47 minutes (I timed it) to explain the game/ give away all of the little tricks and tell the students exactly what to do.

I know that I was personally bored to tears and even some of the other teachers came up to me to discuss how it might have been better to let the students figure things out. Regardless, everyone really enjoyed the game and hopefully learned something. I had cookies for the winners so they were pleased. We only have one more week of class! Next week is final presentations and certificate time! Things are winding down...

Because I've been having a rough 10 days I thought I deserved a reward, even though I had lunch with the girls yesterday. Since I couldn't reward myself with what I really want (some friends and family time in the best country in the world), I had to settle for the next best thing: dairy products. A giant block of cheese really made me feel better today.