Sputum and Noodles and Ethics

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I’ve been quiet on the blog front lately for a variety of reasons–chief among them that my cold has evolved into what I am pretty sure is either bronchitis or the black lung. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching the difference between “your body is healing” sputum and “death death pain death” sputum. Yay, sputum!

On a related note, did you know that WebMD’s symptom tracker totally works in Senegal? It’s like my new Hulu.

But in addition to that, I spent the last few days out of town on a Public Health field trip. The trip was confusing on multiple levels, since none of the students knew where we were going, how we were going to do our work there, or whether the bus was going to show up.

It did, though, so on Thursday afternoon we all piled in and headed out on a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Toukar, a Serer-speaking village near Mbour. The first night was completely weird, as it ended with the bus offroading us into a Catholic mission, where our professor emerged from the shadows with dinner.

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Going to the Delta

Hanging with the termites.

I’m officially back from the Sine Saloum delta, ie your friendly reminder that everywhere in Senegal that is not Dakar is staggeringly beautiful.

This was a whole program trip, so all 60 of us rolled up after a three-hour bus ride on Friday. We then took pirogues (think 30-person canoes) over to our campment, which was composed mostly of thatched-roof, solar-powered cottages and hammocks. It was populated by increasingly ridiculous birds–think two-foot-long irridescent blue things, and songbird-sized hummingbirds.

While settling in the first night, I bought some jewelry from a Tuarag silversmith. The man was six feet tall and all done up in blue robes (the Serer women next to him were not thrilled, as no one looked at their wares). The jewelry is lovely and, you know, desert nomad.

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