I have spent 100% of my time being wet from:
-laundered clothes that haven’t dried yet
My skin just wants to be dry. When people think of Africa, they think of the desert. Not this:
Le sigh. As much as I love that the rain cools things down, it admittedly ruined the Downtown Sortie that CIEE had planned for us. The Marché Sandaga was soaked and pretty much deserted. The only thing left was a swarm of young men trying to “get to know us” to sell us things or take us to their factories.
After we got back from hours of walking around aimlessly in the rain/sheets of water, I wanted to explore my neighborhood, Sacré Coeur 3. My family was settling down for lunch at 3pm (I cannot get used to mealtimes here; I’m writing this at 10pm and no one has said anything about dinner), and I called Aimee to meet up at… I still don’t really know what it’s called: Miramrmr—??.
This Sortie was… what I’d been waiting for.
Aimee’s siblings, Charlotte (10) and Babacar (6.92) came along with us and they basically became guides for us two clueless adults. If I ever have another homestay, I’ll have to ask for kids. We just wandered around looking for any sort of marché, café, or patisserie, and spent the afternoon talking in slow, broken French. (I’m amazed that the kids had enough an attention span to listen to our 30-second-long sentences: Est-ce qu’il y a …. les… cafés?… cafés avec wifi?… ou… patisseries?… à…. Sacré Coeur… trois?).
Charlotte was able to lead us to Marché Liberté 6. AMAZING. This was a market where people bought stuff they actually used (like sothiou, which are these sticks used for cleaning teeth). The marché, which was hidden away in the heart of Sacré Coeur (pun) had a neighborly feel. We were on a quest to find tweezers for me, and people sitting on the streets (who had earlier been delighted by our correct response of “malekum salaam”) reached out to actually help us find a place (in contrast to people being “friendly” because they want something out of you). I saw piles of hibiscus for bissap. Aimee bought a converter for 500CFA ($1, cheaper than Amazon!) and a sothiou. The two of us also bought des mangues (400 CFAs/kilo = $.40/lb) et des goyavas ($.20 each) from some fruit stands (and I accidentally gave too much money and the vendor gave it back to me – how lovely).
All in all, this afternoon was great and I felt like I caught another glimpse of “real” Senegal. Now, I know that everything is “real” Senegal but Marché Liberté 6, hidden away in the residential area of Dakar, was a place that no tourist would have been able to see. I don’t have any good pictures because I felt like I would’ve been invading something private had I whipped out my camera. I felt like I was treated to an actual slice of life. I’m looking forward to more of these moments.
Finally, I was also able to find my host mother alone and give her the gifts I brought. I’m so awkward about giving gifts but I felt like a huge load was off my back and that I was able to break the ice a bit with her. I think she was happy with the “fait par les artistes” items and cranberries (they’re an American thing she’d never seen!) I got. Tomorrow’s the first day of school and everything’s looking up up up!