Good Morning Sebikotane

Allie Wallace - Senegal


January 3, 2013

5:59 am: The alarm clock goes off. I wiggle my foot free of the mosquito net, hitting the off button with my toes in the dark. I take a few deep breaths to brace myself before

6:00 am: The guy at the mosque outside my window starts his morning yell/chant over the loudspeakers. I’m not exactly sure but I think this is either the first call to prayer, the village alarm clock, or a mix of both. I crawl out of my rather saggy bed, grab my flip flops and

6:05 am: Head to the back courtyard. My host mom is just outside, washing for her morning prayer. The rest of the household is still and dark. I grab a big bucket and a cup, lug some water to the outhouse, turn on the light and chase out the cockroaches. I brush my teeth and wet my hair down as quickly as possible, eager get back to my room and

6:20 am: Warm up. Bed you didn’t see that one coming. I sure didn’t, but it is legitimately chilly here when you’ve just taken a cold bucket shower and the sun still hasn’t risen. I pull some clothes out of my suitcase, pin my shaggy hair out of my eyes and throw on some sunscreen. I grab two eggs out of my mouse- and bug-proof “food safety bucket” and

6:30 am: Make myself some scrambled eggs for course one of breakfast. Lunch isn’t until 2 o’clock, and there’s no way I’ll make it there without a little protein. I scarf them down plain and by

6:45 am: My siblings and nieces have started getting ready for school. I drag a chair over to the open door and sit out of the way, reading or watching the sun rise over the sleepy village. Codou, my 9 year old niece, goes out to buy the baguettes, butter, coffee grounds and sugar for breakfast at the shop nearby. Once everyone’s awake, it’s never long before the TV is turned on. Codou comes back with breakfast and

7:15 am: I have a Laughing Cow cheese wedge spread on fresh baguette, sometimes with fresh tomato slices, and spiced coffee for round two of breakfast. I draw this out as long as possible, since it’s the only meal of the day that involves no rice, no fish and no communal dishes. I grab my bag, throw on my sandals and by

7:45 am: I walk to school with Codou and Maman Corka, Codou’s 3 year old sister and the baby of the family. I get a lot of funny looks and amused smiles as I walk with the neighborhood kids, backpack on, leading Maman by the hand. If I wasn’t so clearly foreign here, I might pass for a student. But there’s no blending in here, not for me. I’m reminded of this as

7:55 am: I walk across the school courtyard, followed by a few hundred pairs of eyes and hesitant calls of “Toubab!” Toubab means white person or foreigner. And so begins another sunny day in Sebikotane.

Allie Wallace