There is no nice way to put it. I am kinda a bitch in Senegal. Blame it on the fact I have become jaded by creepy Senegalese men. Or the reality that 90 percent of my daily interactions are not in my first language which forces me to be incredibly blunt (ahem, rude) so as nothing gets lost in translation. Or maybe it’s just the heat.
Anyways, here is part two of three in the Senegalese Bitch Monologues. These scenes demonstrate how my hardass level has achieved new heights. In all three of the moments I had to sit back and ask myself, what the hell happened? Why am I so angry? And why the hell is it so damn hot here?
[The scene: 4am at the garage in Djenne, Mali. Christine (fellow Peace Corps volunteer and travel buddy) and I approach the bus we booked for the 10+ hour journey to Bamako. Already at the bus, a group of young 20-something European travelers haggling over baggage with the bus driver and a Malian guy trying to shove a couple thousand pounds of smelly river fish in the bus’ baggage compartment.]
Me (in French): Good morning. Do you speak Fulfulde? My French is not very good.
Bus driver (in Fulfulde-a dialect of Pulaar): blegbabringgadeboo white girl cant speak pulaar geerglewigglegoobgob can’t even greet.
Me (in Pulaar): So you do speak Pulaar. I speak Pulaar too, I wasn’t breast fed Pulaar, but I have been in Africa a long time and can speak very well. My Pulaar is a little different than yours, but if you talk slowly I will be able to hear you and understand you.
Bus driver (in slow Fulfulde): Okay little Pulaar girl. What do you want?
Me: I want you to load my bag and my friend’s bag.
Bus driver: Sure no problem. The price is 5mille per bag.
Me: Do you think I am an idiot? The price is not 5mille. The price is zero mille. Stop insulting me and load my bag. I paid for my ticket and my baggage. Is your pocket hungry? Why are you feeding it with my money?
Driver: Are you calling me a liar and a thief?
Me: No. Not if you load my bag and stop asking me for money. I know how things work here, so stop fighting with me. I am tired.
Driver: You do not know how things work here. You are white and you will pay me for your bag.
Me: Now you have made me angry. Stop being a son of a bitch and load my bag.
Me: I wont leave here until you load my bag. And if you don’t I will go over to those tourists and tell them that they shouldn’t have paid for their bags either. Then you will have a group of angry white people yelling at you. Do you want that?
Driver: Go ahead.
[I stomp over to the group of travelers, inform them that they had been ripped off and that if they would like their money back then they should confront the driver. At least 20 minutes of arguing commences in French and Pulaar/Fulfulde. A crowd starts to gather around the bus. I start reciting Pulaar proverbs much to the amusement of the crowd. Eventually, the driver--defeated--is forced to fork over the money he had collected from the tourists and load the bags (BTW he put them as close to the vat of smelly fish as possible).]
Driver: Why are you causing me pain?
Me: You brought this upon yourself. Stop trying to feed you pockets with stolen money. Allah is watching and you have shamed him.
Driver: (stares at me furiously and then stuttering over each word yells): You will cause your future husband so much suffering!
Me (In English, fighting back a smile): Oh believe me, I know…
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.
Previous post: i’m not a bitch, i just play one in senegal: part 1