Background Noise (and Unnerving Silence)

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Tonight is the first night my host house has been quiet since I moved in here three months ago. This happened only because the power company decided to cut our (and only our) power for the evening. As the angry Wolof phone conversations have finished, this has left is more-or-less complete silence.

It’s very weird.

This is one of the things that no one thinks to tell you when you are moving abroad, particularly in regards to a host family. My family (and, as best I can tell from other students, most host families in the program) has some sort of noise going constantly. The TV is frequently left on as background noise, and if the TV isn’t on the radio is. Frequently multiple radios or TVs are turned to different stations at the same time, both left loud enough to be heard in the central room. My host mother sleeps the whole night through with the TV or radio (occasionally both) in the background. Senegalese music (including the snapshot above from an Independence Day festival) is like 90% Very Loud Drums.

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