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

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, for the next three weeks I bring you 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: 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. 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 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 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) 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 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.

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  1. says

    I love it and I can totally imagine that scene :) I still remember living in Egypt around 2000 and I understand how you can grow so bitchy. After so many sleazy encounters with local guys, you just get suspicious. And if I had to bet I still think that guy might call you to take you to a party by the way :) :)

    • melanie says

      You are absolutely right, if i had given him my number I probably would have been ignoring calls from him for the next couple weeks.

      It is just so strange to go from a world where guys ignore me to a world where they won’t leave me alone. There’s got to be a middle ground right?

  2. says

    PMSL!! I just had a couple of weeks in Tunisia where I at times got sick of the local men giving me unwanted attention but that was (obviously) nothing. I can understand it getting to you. Can’t wait to hear the next two!

    • melanie says

      I felt awful for being so rude to this guy, but all the negative attention can be overwhelming at times.

      I found when I was in the Middle East I assumed most guys were looking to get laid, while here in Senegal most guys are looking for a green card. I have turned into such a cynic…

  3. says

    Having just returned from Kenya on Monday, I laughed and laughed while reading this as it constantly reminded me of conversations the Kenyan boys and the American girls with me were having. Love it.

    • melanie says

      I guess that is one of the “joys” of traveling right? Hope the girls you were with were more polite when fending off their Kenyan suitor’s advances.