so this is awa

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

Meet my youngest Senegalese sister, Awa. Likes: bubbles, dancing, hanging out in my room, her imaginary friend “Fatou” and bathing in big tubs (called benoirs). Dislikes: shoes, beans, bananas, and getting her hair braided. Superhuman power: squealing/yelling in a high pitch voice (imagine Elmo’s voice—now take it 4 octaves higher). Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and …

shit my senegalese dad says

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

Meet my Senegalese Dad, Weliba. He is a husband (multiple times), teacher, and father to countless children. He speaks mumbled Pulaar infused with French. He also insists on beginning each of our interactions with the phrase “Rokia, my daughter” and what comes after is usually highly amusing. Dad: Rokia, my daughter, why don’t you do sport? (He means “exercise”) Me: …

so this is mama

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

So after a long and difficult transition–I’ll spare you the details as they involve a lot of boring Peace Corps logistics and me turning into an emotional basket case for 3 months– I have moved in with a new host family in Kedougou. Life is good. I drink a little bit less. And my crazy level has stabilized–at least for …

cry baby

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal 1 Comment

I have the unique experience of being the eighth Peace Corps volunteer living with my Senegalese family. As a rule, village sites in Senegal have volunteers for six years (which means three different volunteers live with the family) before the site is closed and volunteers are placed elsewhere. Cities however are an exception to this rule. There is no exact …

new shoe

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

My shoe broke today. Serendipitously it broke as I tripped into my neighborhood boutique (the Senegalese equivalent of a general store). Since I didn’t want to walk back to my house with one bare foot, I decided to buy a pair of cheap Chinese manufactured (read–low quality) flip flops. Since just one of my shoes broke, I only replaced the …

drinking from the africa cup

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

We interrupt your regular programming to bring you the Africa Cup of Nations… The women in my household have been cranky over the past couple of weeks.  Their favorite soap opera Marina (a Mexican telenovela dubbed in French) was bumped from its primetime slot by the Africa Cup football (soccer) matches. Every afternoon and every evening all the men (and …

fanta

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

It is really hard to be an “adult” here. What I mean by that is, I struggle with my limited language skills and constant cultural blunders to fit in with adults. The first hour is usually fine. We can talk about America or Senegal or my job, but beyond that there really isn’t much more I can say. The result …

hãr no suusi

girlwithgumption kedougou, senegal, peace corps senegal

Hãr is Brave Since moving to Senegal, my tolerance for life’s creepies and crawlies has increased significantly. I fall asleep to the sound of mice scurrying through my roof thatching. I see nuclear sized cockroaches on a semi-regular basis. I check my shoes every morning to ensure that there are no scorpions hiding inside. But today, I met my reptilian …