Loaded down like this, I waddled through customs.
The humidity hit me and my camera’s lens with a big puff of dirty, hot air straight off the plane
Outside the airport we were greeted by enthusiastic Peace Corps-ers and shuttled to Thiès as the sun was coming up. After the hour bus ride and overnight flight, I was exhausted, but meandering cows in the metropolis Dakar, some 80s-esque French/Wolof music on the radio station, and some cool street art and tags stand out in my memory.
That day was a blur of sessions, small talk, a nap, and a seminar on how to use a Turkish toilet. This is how we eat lunch, and how we will be eating
When you get fish bones, in your mouth, just let them fall out onto the
mat! Also, spoons are quite optional.
When we finally were able to hit the sack, I fell asleep faster than I could have hoped. I awoke in the night to a powerful rainstorm, the doors slamming open and shut in our room, and laying in bed looking up at the mosquito net was all pretty surreal.
The next day, we walked into Thiès for the first time, and it was mind-blowing. Although we had only been in the compound for 2 days, it felt like indefinite period of time – an indefinite bubble of American food, people, smells and references, with designated Senegalese knowledge, language and cultural training thrown in spurts now and then. Walking down the crowded market, stepping out of the way of taxis going everywhere, having a few kids begging beside you –it was overwhelming. In the training center, it’s hard for me to visualize the Senegal I’m learning about.