Culture Shock?

Hilary Brown - Senegal


October 5, 2009

When the other fellows and I arrived in Dakar four days ago I had no expectations other than being over whelmed. Having never been to Africa I knew I would never have been able to imagine things such as the level of humidity and heat or the sheep that look like goats grazing in the medians. However, after a few days of living in an apartment with the other fellows; eating Senegalese food, taking cold showers and learning how to use a non flushing toilet I was looking forward to meeting my first host family, prepared to make many life style adjustments. So when I arrived at my host house I was surprised to find a flushing toilet, toilet paper and of all things hot water. When it was time for lunch we sat down at a table to a western style meal with plates and silverware.

There are five people in the house; a man from Guadalupe, his wife who is Senegalese but of mixed race, her sick brother and sister in law and her very sick mother. All of their children are older and live in France. Thus far I have gathered that the family enjoys watching TV, and sleeping. Luckily, there is not really a language barrier so during commercials I am able to attempt to start conversation. The majority of my time however is spent with the other fellows at the Baobab center learning about Senegalese culture, taking walks through the neighborhood and improving my French!

Hilary Brown