Saalam Aleikum! It’s me again, but this time not as Fernanda. In this blog post I will be Mame Diara (aka The Only Tubab in Town), who is also the person I have been being for these past 6 months in Senegal. Yes, I have a different name here (apparently tubab names are too complicated for the relaxed Senegalese style), and no, it was not so hard to get used to it.
So that’s recent me, Mame Diara, and I will guide through A Day In My Life In Senegal™. You are welcome.
Getting a bit visually located, that is my cosy pink room, and this is my welcoming pinkish house. In the photos you can also see two things that saved my life in Senegal: my fan and our flower tree (which I used as a reference to know where my house was and not enter strangers’ houses inadvertently during my first days here).
Getting started with the day: After properly waking up (and sometimes even before that), I go down the street of my house to buy breakfast for my whole family. I buy bread from this super funny lady called Faksise, then go on to buy the sandwiches filling from Amy Ñai, the responsible for the most sincere smiles of my mornings.
I then go home to complete other breakfast-related tasks (give coffee to the neighbour, buy milk, clean the trays, etc), to then, finally, have breakfast and prepare myself to go to work.
As you can see, I have a bike. His name is Creed Apollo and we’ve been scared to death together in the roads of Tivaoune, but now we trust each other and ride peacefully everywhere as the cutest couple of the year. I love Creed Apollo.
In the mornings, I usually go to school, either to learn or teach. Above there is a photo of the corridor that is now so familiar to me, but where I was often uncomfortable passing through while all the students watched curiously The Only Tubab In Town. Below are photos of me teaching and loving my students (patience is love, right?).
And when I’m not teaching, I’m learning, so here is a photo of the guy who has saved my mood so many times since September. Apart from teaching me about life and being happy, he also teaches me Wolof (and French… when he feels like it). Say hi to Malick.
And if I’m not teaching nor learning, I’m tailoring. Sadly, I haven’t been there in a while, so I couldn’t take a picture of me in action, but here goes a photo of… yeah, you can see.
Then I go back home.
I love Creed Apollo.
And it’s TIME FOR FOOD!!! If I have time in the morning, I help my family cook. If not, the lunch will taste better. In the photo: AwaCheikh making ceebujeen.
Lunch is one of my favourite parts of the day, not only because of good food. In Senegal, we all eat from the same bowl, so meals are a time when the whole family is actually gathered together, and I really appreciate that. Also, it is normal to eat with your hands, and that just makes me incredibly happy.
In the afternoons, when everybody in my house disappears, I take naps, read books, meditate, listen to music, work on projects, write essays or blog posts, go for a run, draw or watch a movie. Except Thursdays and Saturdays, when I go to the English Club and try not to die laughing at my friends. I wish I had pictures from there, but I only have extremely funny videos that will hopefully be shared with you in a few weeks.
Whenever I have free time (really, whenever), I go to my rooftop. It’s been my favourite place in Tivaouane since my first day here, and the breeze and the views it shares with me are just indescribable. I wish you all knew what an incredible place that is and how much happiness and relief I have felt on there.
After watching the sunset and probably meditating for a bit, my day moves on to early evenings of excitement for dinner (usually something sweet like couscous with milk and sugar), and my final task of the day: making coffee.
In my house we always drink Café Touba, which is a traditionally spiced Senegalese coffee (you might remember it from my last blog post), made in a home-made coffee filter on a margarine bucket, which in my opinion adds the special touch to it. At this point in the evening I’m either preparing to take a cold shower or have already taken one, and am most likely getting ready to go to bed. As filtrating coffee is a long and quite monotonous activity, I like to take this time to reflect on how my day has been and what I feel like. My most recent feelings when doing that can be summed up to joy and satisfaction, for everything I have gone through and for the motivation I feel to keep doing my best and taking the most out of the last weeks of this experience. Healthy reflections J.
Done with the day, it is time to go bed, and I hope you all enjoyed this short visit to my daily life in Senegal. Remember to drink lots of water, keep yourself healthy and sane, and don’t forget the mosquito net! (You surely don’t want to get malaria).
Talk to you soon! 🙂
Credits: to Annie, for taking so many of the pictures here <3; and to everybody else who makes my daily life so special and worth living.