“Normal” life in Dakar





As I was preparing to write this post, I was reflecting on my past two weeks here. What I can say for sure is that amidst the heat, delicious food, and adjustment to classes, I’ve developed a new sense of “normal”. There are things that I see and do that I could not imagine doing or seeing in the United States.

I wasn’t shocked by everything that’s now become normal in my life, but instead, I slowly took everything in as it came. I’m sure that in the future I will be introduced to new aspects of Senegalese culture that will become normal to me. For now, here’s what my new normal consists of:

– Drinking tea, hot chocolate, or coffee and eating a baguette with Chocopain (chocolate spread in the morning)
– Constantly dodging taxis, buses, and cars when walking anywhere / Not having sidewalks
– Seeing a slew of moutons (sheep) and a few vaches (cows) in preparation for the big upcoming tabaski celebration (a more complete post is pending)
– Buying Orange phone cards to load onto my Senegalese cell phone
– Seeing street vendors selling literally everything (Quick side story: I was once in a taxi with a friend and we were stuck in traffic. Vendors came to us selling coat racks, towels, coloring books, etc. You can find people selling anything.)
– Eating around the bowl with my family every night
– Mixing French with Wolof when I speak
– Explaining to people that I am not Senegalese (A lot of people that I have encountered believe that I am Senegalese. Some people even speak to me in Wolof and I have to politely tell them, Deguma Wolof [meaning, “I don’t understand Wolof” in Wolof”])
– Taking long naps in my room when the heat becomes unbearable
– Going to the beach (there are plenty)
– Handwashing my undergarments

This list is not comprehensive in the slightest but it shows that I’ve learned to adapt in many ways to my new life here in Dakar. I’m excited to see what else Dakar has in store for me and Senegal in a broader sense.

I’ll leave you all with a picture of a rainbow that I saw at the football game last week.

Senegal was playing against Namibia and…Senegal won! 2-0. It was exciting and I’m not usually a sports fan.  It was kind of magical seeing the rainbow because it appeared at the very end of the game and the crowd was in high spirits.

Until next time,