I apologize for being a pretty big slacker in terms of updating. Maybe I should try and update more often but with shorter posts. Well, here it goes.
My time in Dakar is quickly coming to an end! I have less than 2 weeks left here and then I head south to Joal, my internship village. This also means that my classes are nearly finished, which I am very excited for (let's just say that they have not been as intellectually stimulating as I was hoping). However, at the same time, it means I must say goodbye to my host family and to all the other American students. In short, this also means saying goodbye to speaking English...and depending on my family, possibly to speaking French. I need to put some serious time into practicing my Wolof.
This past Sunday evening, I was going to make cookies for my family. My brothers have been looking forward to my impending afternoon of baking for several weeks now. Unfortunately, I soon came to the realization that nearly everything is closed in Dakar on Sundays- that is everything except the large markets, which seem to be open all the time. After traveling to four different supermarkets to buy ingredients, hoping to find one of them open, I returned home defeated and told my family I would have to make cookies some other time. Fortunately, however, I was able to make crepes for Sunday dinner, which ended up being absolutely delicious. The only ingredients necessary are flour, eggs, and milk, which can all easily be found at the nearest corner store. So after a quick outing, this time I returned home successful and began my first African cooking experience, making something that ironically enough represents French colonialism.
The crepes ended up being delicious, and inspired in my one host brothers the desire to open up a crepe restaurant at my school here to sell crepes to the American students. I initially thought he was joking, so I went along with it, but he soon made it clear that he was totally serious. We were soon discussing logistics and management, including prices and gaining permission from the women who run the restaurant at the university to make crepes alongside them. He has told me he will get it up and running before we leave Dakar, and I told him I would believe it when I see it. It has turned into kind of a running joke in the house, so in the end the crepe experience has worked to prove my worth in the kitchen (towards becoming a "senegalese women"), but also as a bonding moment among my family.
In other, non-crepe related news, I finally feel as if I am starting to feel more comfortable in Dakar. I know my way around downtown, and can bargain fairly well for a reasonable taxi price. I have also become more comfortable taking public transportation around Dakar- although the car rapides will forever be a mystery to me. Surprisingly, the bus system is fairly well organized (nothing like the metro in DC) and tends to be consistent enough. There have been several times when I have gotten on a random bus, hoping it will bring me to my destination, and for the most part it has worked out! It is possible for a white woman (who speaks minimal Wolof and far from perfect French) to feel semi-independent here, which is very comforting.
Well I'm off but I will update more soon! We have a birthday celebration tonight with one of the students, and we're going to a Mexican restaurant which is an interesting juxtaposition in Senegal.