A Day in the Life

Bloggers tend to focus on writing about excursions or special occasions, but whenever I read blogs, what I want to really know about is the authors’ daily life. So here’s my typical Monday in Senegal:

6h30 | I wake up as the sun rises and get ready for school, which involves putting on sunscreen.
7h30 | Most mornings, I’ll buy a bean and pea sandwich on a half baguette from the yellow shack on my street for 300CFA ($.60). The mile to school is full of passing honking taxis, greeting acquaintances, and burning garbage.

I try my best not to breathe as I pass, but the same stuff is coming out of all of the cars that pass me by, and sometimes it’s black when it comes out of the cars.

8h | My arrival at school means air conditioning! I have an hour before class to check e-mail or fill up my water bottle with cold, filtered water.
9h | Kalaasu Wolof, taught in a mix of French and broken English. Kebs teaches by explaining grammar on the board, and by using call and response (class size n=5).
11h | Santé Publique (Public Health), taught in French. Our professor is a doctor who teaches us about basic concepts of public health. We also have guest lecturers who teach us about topics especially pertinent to Senegal. This class is supposed to take 2 hours like all of our other classes, but it usually only takes an hour.
13h | I walk/run home for lunch, which I eat by myself at a table since my family likes to eat later, usually after the midday prayer. Sometimes I’ll eat lunch at school, which costs 1000CFA ($2). I like to take my daily antimalarial, Malarone, with lunch since it’s guaranteed that I’ll be consuming fat, which is necessary for adequate absorption.
1430 | Français. Our professor blazes through grammatical concepts and adds a few examples to each.
1630 | Free time at school. I love the air conditioning, and how American social rules apply: I have personal space here.
18h | Time for Beach Mondays! Greg and I run to the beach to work out while the sun sets. There’s always a huge crowd of Senegalese men working out when we get there. On other days, I attend “Toubab Fitness”: a handful of us go to the terrace to work out to the Insanity video playing on Dylan’s laptop.
19h | The sun has set by the time I walk or run home. Usually the garbage is finished burning by now. I greet my acquaintances and ignore the honking taxis.
21h30 | Dinner time. Meals with my family are eaten traditionally: we sit on the living room floor around a communal bowl. Sometimes I use my hands instead of the offered utensils.
23h | I climb under my mosquito net, exhausted.

Tuesday-Thursday is a pretty similar schedule, usually with more free time than Monday. On Fridays I go to the dispensaire, and my weekends are free for adventures!


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