French Adventures

Ananda Day - Senegal


October 16, 2009

Oh la la,where in the world is my mind? Last week the we had our first french lesson here, and Hilary and I are with Madame Dianaba (Jana-baa). Before the lesson we had to take an exam to find out which class we would end up in and the exam consisted of a speaking conversation with the french teacher. Now in our group Gaya speaks impeccable french, Hilary is pretty darn good, I’m okay, and we have three who speak absolutely nothing. So we of course are tell the teachers, no these people don’t speak french. Instead of being like oh they don’t need to take the exam Dianaba goes (in french) “super, lets start with them. To say the least, it was a quick exam. Anyways, Hilary and I are in the same class, which is quite a nice 1:2 ratio if I may say so. Anyways, our first task was to interview a man who works at the Baobab center in french. So we had gone through all the formal things-what is your name, occupation, where you were born, family, political believes, and so on. Anyways, he then states the question, as-tu un copain? Now literally copain means friend, as in do you have a friend. At the current time I was exhausted, so of course I was like yes, I have tons of friends, and rattled off a bunch of people. Then he asks Hilary if she has a friend? Her response? No. It was at this point that I remembered that in slang french, copain means boyfriend. To my horror, I had just told the man working at my ‘school’ that I had tons and tons of boyfriends. So I back tracked to say the least.

Todays french class was a bit different from the intense 5 1/2 hour day we usually have full of grammar, worksheets, and miserable failures on my part. Today, we made crepes. First we had to look up the recipe, then go to a little store and buy all that we needed, come back to the Baobab center, learn how to work with grams instead of cups, cook the crepes, and then eath them in all their deliciousness with sprinkled sugar and citron vert (lime).  Of course, nothing here goes as planned. As we mixed our first batch of crepes together, there were these odd little things in the batter. Hmm, what could those all be? It turns out that the flour we had gotten from the store was infested with worms. Yum. So then for round two, as we went back and bought all the necessary items again. This time on the way to the store, Hilary and I saw our friend Pap Samba who works at our ‘school’. Now we had all gone to a concert last week, and Sama had said he was going to get me the cd of it.  As this was the first time I had seen him since then, I asked him if he had found it (that is after all the traditional greetings of course). Through a series of miscommunications he now things that  we are going to a concert on Saturday night because we don’t have class on Sunday morning. That’s just a little bit different than the question I asked right? Oh, well, there was no time to ameliorate the situation as there were crepes to be made (and eaten). Eventually we ended up having to go back to the store for more supplies, as once people smelled our delicious cuisine, more people wanted a bit of it. Currently we have an appointment for next Thursday morning when we will be making crepes for the military men from Fort Brag (North Carolina!!!) before they leave.  I mean, at least now I know that I can do something right in french? Cook.

Ananda Day