On language

After one month it’s become clear that I’ve been subconsciously hoping that I was, at soul, fluent. That after a few weeks of verbal stumbling along one day I’d open my mouth and all this forgotten language would gush out with perfect accent, perfect pitch and I’d be witty and interesting in Wolof and French. It didn’t happen exactly that way so, onward language lessons ahoy. I am finding them adventurous somewhat and I do enjoy learning but I’m impatient because there is so much to do, and more easily done if I could communicate better, or at all. I long for the future of cyberpunk when I can lie back, plug in and upload a language program directly into my brain, a la the Matrix, or have a memory chip inserted like Hiro Protagonist. But I begrudgingly guess the reward is in the struggle and muddle and study until you finally have that aha moment, that epiphany, the hard shell cracking before you in all its pearly glory.

And this is why I came here, to be out of my element. To live in a place where it would take real commitment to be complacent. The frustrations pale next to the payoffs, when things I agonized over in my last life, things I tossed and turned and petitioned, some of those thank god are but shadows of dreams.

Dejeuner

The head is considered the tastiest part of the fish and the eyes a particular delicacy. One man’s fish…

Mbodiene

Be happy, young man, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.

So on the ocean of life we pass

donkey carts pulling maribout and boy

Years later I still remember eyes that met mine on city streets and in museums, on car rapides and in the village. We’re only souls poured into skin, I could have been anyone.


Rainy season

Dakar has a rainy season from July to September, with oppressive temperatures and high humidity.

While the rains in Senegal are necessary to bring life and growth to the villages the same rains carry death and disease into Dakar. Due to mass rural exodus and poor city planning Dakar was built without taking into account the geographical horsts and grabens, therefore much of the city floods during the rainy season, bringing sewage into homes and schools and creating a breeding ground for malaria-borne mosquitoes and outbreaks of cholera.