Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Asalaa maalekum!(Peace be with you!)

We started Wolof classes today and it was really intense, but it was also really amazing. For those of you who may not know, Wolof is the local language. YES, French IS the national language, but most of the people on the street speak Wolof.

My goal is to really focus on learning Wolof - especially since I found out that I will have to barter for a car rapide or a taxi to get to class every day.

Speaking of which, I discovered that I am not actually living (or going to school) in downtown Dakar. I will be living on the outskirts of the city in a residential neighborhood called "Sacre Coeur III". The CIEE study center (where my classes are) is in another neighborhood called Marmoz. CIEE is renting rooms from Suffolk University (which is an American University but has a campus in Dakar?) which is part of a larger building that the locals know as E.N.E.A. (confusing I know).

So I am living in Sacre Coeur III, where I will catch a taxi or a car rapide to Marmoz (about a 10 min drive if traffic is good - which it never is, so I have to plan for 30 min.), where I will walk to classes at CIEE which is really a part of Suffolk University, which is really a part of E.N.E.A. (phew!)

Today's lunch was REALLY interesting. Everyone was given a whole fish (grilled, but you could still see the head, fins, eyes, and teeth -yes teeth!) along with a heap of rice and some sauce.
I took a picture of it which I will eventually upload. It was actually pretty tasty once you got past the fact that it still looked like a fish.

After lunch we took the longest French evaluation test on the face of the planet. (Okay so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it was really long). I'm pretty sure I did horribly on the grammar part, but the reading comprehension, the essays, and the speaking parts went pretty well. I'm hoping to test into an advanced French class, but we'll see what happens.

That's it for now. We're supposed to find out who are families are tomorrow and I am very anxious to learn about mine.

Thanks for all of your comments too - I enjoy reading them.

Ba beneen yoon (until next time),


mom said...

Your lunch sounds much more interesting than mine. Glad to hear it tasted good. Did everyone have their own fish or was it a group thing with the common bowl?

I know you will do well bartering for you ride. Just pretend you are bartering with your brother. What is the difference between a car rapide and a taxi....or is it the same thing?

I will be praying for a favorable family placement.
Love you bunches.

B.Mullett said...

Well interesting lunch, glad you were able to eat it okay. Hang in there, sounds confusing getting a way to school each day, hopefully there will be someone else to catch a ride with you. Do pray you get a nice family. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Libby Gwynn said...

Hi Kelly!
I'm glad you are safely there and getting along OK so far. I'm sure you must be suffering from culture shock, but am sure everything will get easier each day.
Take care and I'll keep checking your blog for updates.
By the way, it's cold here so enjoy the warmth!

James said...

Hi Kelly
great to hear they have wireless. I suppose access might be more difficult once you are out in a family. The communications seem different; I think I got about 2 letters from home when I was there in the Peace Corps, but that was then. Otherwise it sounds similar. Have fun with Wolof.

Dannielle said...

Hmm... did you eat the head of the fish? I bet it has all kinds of nutrients... :)Not sure you actually NEED said nutrients... but hey.
I'm glad you are finding your way around a little now. I think I am going to find a map of Dakar so I can see where you are talking about. I pray you have a good host family.
Love ya,

Keith said...

hey kell lunch sounded intresting..............
hope ur having alot of fun (with u know the food....)

Brandy said...

Hey Kelly!! Thought you might want to hear from another proud family member... so glad to hear that you made it to Africa alright, what an experience you will have.. be careful and enjoy your time there.. we will be keeping tabs on your blog and praying that all goes well for you...
Thinking of you,
Brandy and Davey Yundt

Renee said...

Hi Kelly,
Just catching up on you. Enjoy your blog site and reading everyones comments too. Sounds like you are having a great adventure. You will be surprized how 'normal' all these new experiences (classes, cab ride to campus, unusual food, etc.) feel within about a month. All the best in your studies! Thanks for sharing with us all. You remain in my prayers!
Peace and Blessings!