Senegal: Week 1

This was written during my first week in Senegal. Due to craptastic wifi coverage, it hasn’t seen the light of day until now. Enjoy!

It is an interesting experience having everyone who comes into contact with you assume that you’re slightly retarded.

That’s been my major takeaway from my first week in Senegal, where—I swear to god—every time I interact with a new member of my host family they look at me and say (in very sympathetic French), “Oh, so you don’t know French?”

I’ve taken French since I was 12. I used to be good at it. I have given up trying to explain that my French used to be better back before I didn’t speak it for two years, both because a) I don’t think anyone believes me, and b) I no longer possess the knowledge of the appropriate tenses required to express this sentiment.

For the record, my French used to be better before I didn’t speak it for two years.

Other than that, this week has been full of the sorts of things one learns when one watches a lot of foreign TV with one’s elderly host parents. For example, when they score a goal, the Ghanan soccer team dances (I swear to god that this is true) the Soulja Boy. Also, at 8:30 tonight the local news station played 3 Brittany Spears videos from the mid-90’s without any explanation. They weren’t even the classics—this was like the b-sides of her first album. Continue reading