i’m not a bitch, i just play one in senegal: part 1

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

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 95 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. As a woman in Senegal, I am expected to be a submissive, second class citizen and  I think the only way I have found to rebel against this norm is to just be a complete and utter bitch.

Anyways, for the next three weeks I bring you the Senegalese Bitch Monologues. These scenes demonstrate how my hardass level has achieved new heights. While these certainly aren’t my proudest moments, but they are the realest–and any story of my time in Africa wouldn’t be complete without them.

[the scene: After a panicked phone call from a village volunteer I hop on my bike as the sun sets and head across town to the Kedougou radio station. The volunteer needed someone to go to the station and ensure that the weekly Peace Corps radio show was put on the air. I pull into the station and there is a young guy that I recognize because he catcalls and harasses me every time I bike to the market area. Remember this entire exchange is happening in Pulaar.]

Me: Hello I greet you. Where is the boss.
Rando Senegalese guy: I’m the boss.
Me: Ok then “boss”, why is the Peace Corps radio not playing right now?
Alleged boss: Because the radio is broken.
Me: Bullshit. Tell me the truth. This is Peace Corp’s time slot, not the same three Senegalese songs on repeat time slot. You are just too lazy to go in the studio and put the right show on the air.
Alleged boss: No it is really broken blah blah blah something about an antenna blah blah Dakar sending new flibberdigibit blah blah blah
Me: Bullshit you are really making me suffer now.
Probably not the real boss: I promise you I would never lie. My last is not Ba.
Me: Ok I’m going to call my friend and tell her to see if there is a problem with the radio (long pause while I get out my cell phone and dial the other volunteer’s number)
Me (in English): Hey KC I’m at the radio and some asshole is telling me its broken. Would you mind turning your radio to the station and telling me if you get a signal.
KC (in English): Ummm, all I hear is static. Maybe its actually broken?
Me (in English): Whoops. Ok lemme try and figure out how to talk my way outta this…
Me (switching to Pulaar again): So the radio might be broken… but you should have called Peace Corps to let us know. I biked all the way down here in the dark. You have made me suffer. I am growing angry.
Probably not the real boss: I told you I told the truth! I am sorry you are suffering but I cannot call you if I don’t have your phone number.
Me: Oh ok. I will give you my phone number. (long pause while I evaluate the pros and cons of giving my number to this man who has harassed me in the past) I will give you my phone number but it is only for business. You understand? No asking me to go to parties. I will not date you, sleep with you or bring you to America. You understand. Business only or I will slice off your balls. Ok?
Probably not the real boss: Listen, I don’t even want to go to America, I like it here. And you American women are crazy I would never take you to a party. You would yell at me and all my friends. How about you just bike home and leave me with your friend’s number?
Me: Ok deal.

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.