A few of the more memorable things from the last couple weeks of training:
- Fielding questions about American culture as my mildly conservative Muslim host family watched a French-Canadian show called "Reportings" do an exposé on American co-eds on Spring Break in Cancun. Luckily they find it hilarious when drunk people fall over, and they also understand that every culture has its share of ridiculous people.
- Indian Soap Operas. They're 20 minutes of non-stop intense-gaze-filled melodrama backed by a soundtrack that's mostly thunderclaps and they're incredibly popular in small-town Senegal.
- In Pulla Fuuta, my local language, the verbs for 'to vomit,' 'to plant,' and 'to spit' are tuutugol, tutugol, and tuttugol. I'm pretty sure that I've been showing up to dinner and then cheerfully announcing that I went to the school garden, where I spent the afternoon vomiting carrots, okra, and eggplant.
- Trash. In some areas there is so much trash. Clumps and piles and fields and acres of plastic bags, kitchen garbage, soda bottles, worn out shoes, anything and everything.
- Baobabs. There aren't any in my village, which is entirely built on sand, but there are zillions of them along the road to Thiès. The ones here aren't tall and column-looking, like the ones that come up when you google 'baobabs,' but wider and stumpier, extremely impressive in a gigantic, gnarled, squat sort of way.