Well, I guess "almost" is not really appropriate...
Since the airing of this new documentary about Peace Corps-Senegal, I've had people in big cities holler my name, whisper about me (in wolof which I can now understand), greet and thank me for my work and presence. Even Senegalese have found me on facebook.
2 days ago, we had a small viewing party in Dakar to celebrate the success and great feedback from this film. I don't really have a desire to watch myself on film, but the free chicken wings was enough of an incentive to go :)
Don't worry, an English version is being edited right now, so you'll eventually be able to get a good glimpse of my life here.
My ride from town into Kaolack today was a bit uncomfortable as there were 5 adults and 1 child squished into a bench that should seat 4 max. One butt cheek was not technically sitting, but this same cheek was actually more comfortable than its left half which was sitting on a very painful metal bar. At least the fat woman next to me wasn't smelly or mean, but still fat...
Upon my arrival into the big city, I spotted The Naked Man. Who is this character? He's literally a man in Kaolack, who walks around the garage and gas station naked. No, this country does not have a new wave of nudism entering its culture, its just that both the Senegalese and Americans have no idea (or lack the courage) to confront this man about his lack of clothing or material possessions - but that's not to say he isn't "well endowed"
After 2 taxis and another car, I finally made it into Dakar. I was very tired, dehydrated, and hungry. But all those issues can be solved with a power nap, a few chugs of local tap water, and a mystery meat sandwich bought from a random vendor on the street...
This past weekend, I finally had the time to visit another region mate (and fellow theatre geek!)
Garrison, aka Lamine Seydi, lives in a charming Serere village close to the delta. I was able to spend a day with him and help him with several of his awesome projects. It was also a chance to put my Serere language skills to the test - I passed but barely. However, after spending 24 hours in a Serere village, it took me a second to switch back to Wolof once getting back home.
Not that that mattered because upon immediately entering my house, I was greeted by my Pulaar neighbors in Pulaar and Mandinka.
My head hurts...
*PS. Garrison's dad, I know you read my blog, so I just wanted to say that your son is in good health and working hard. (And no, I'm not just saying that to get free Patagonia clothing from you)
Even though this blog is titled "Byron Yee's Grand Adventures," there are plenty of people here and on the homefront who've really been a huge part of my experience. Thus, a quick shoutout to several important people.
-Emily Tran - my region mate: congrats on getting your vacation approved! You and Tim (and your sis) are gonna have an awesome time in London. Enjoy your break from this trying country and have an awesome time speaking English for a change.
- Cassie - my sitemate: Stop getting sick!! I'm so sorry your body hates Senegal, but you're welcome to raid my medkit anytime.
- Nina - my best friend: Hugs and kisses and a whole lotta love. Hang in there, I'm thinking of you and sending my Wolof blessings.
- Vince - my other BFF: If I'm in Senegal and we are known as Senegalese, what do they call people in New Mexico? BTW, do they speak a special dialect of Spanish there? ;)
- Pammy- my sis: Congrats again on your promise ring. Never expected my little sis would beat me to the alter as well. Don't worry, my bride will come soon - I just don't know which country she's from or what language she'll speak...
To the other 20+ blog followers and everyone else, thanks for checking in and sticking with me. I hope my stories and blogs are both informative, fun, and share a slice of my life here.
- A boring parade with lots of feedback and boring speakers
- A marching band that included 2 very out of tune trumpets, and a practice session that paraded by my house at midnight the night before
- A wrestling match that lasted 30 minutes, which finally ended in a draw
Overall, the day's celebrations were pathetic and incredibly anticlimactic. In fact, the highlight of my day was reading Pride and Prejudice. Man, talk about a different world than where I'm currently located. What I wouldn't give for elegantly dressed women, ballrooms, and English accents right now...
So I guess I'm yet again famous, this time on Senegalese National TV. The US embassy just released a documentary about Peace Corps Volunteers; I was one of the lucky film subjects. This is a news clip from the premiere party, but the full documentary (with English) will be online hopefully soon.
This afternoon, I was in the bathroom in Cassie's backyard when I noticed a pigeon staring at me. Of all the creatures that have stared at me while in the bathroom, that was the least disturbing.
What we think happened was the bird was hanging out on a tree, but fell and injured its wing and therefore unable to fly away. It was also unable to fly away from the cat chasing in, both animals of which ran into Cassie's hut while we were chatting. The pigeon then hid under the bed.
A makeshift cage has been fashioned to protect the bird from the cat. But don't think to highly of us PCVs - we're only caging the bird so we can eat it ourselves after fattening it up a bit...
Call us cruel, but sometimes we really crave meat and protein.