How was Africa?

Erik Oline - Senegal


June 7, 2018

                Hey it’s me again. So it turns out that I’m required to post another blog, and as my email inbox is now bursting with other Fellows blogs from June 6th who are scrambling to meet the June 7th deadline I figured I should hop on that boat, the June 7th boat rather, because yesterday was spent fishing, not writing. Today could have been spent fishing as well but here I am inside on a sunny day poking away at my keyboard when I could be outside breathing the cool, clean Pacific Northwest air on the bank of a river. Not cool taking away fishing time GCY. Not cool.

                Anyway, I’m here now typing away when I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be typing about.  I’m sure some sort of recap of the end of my time in Senegal or how my homecoming was would be fitting. Or maybe try to look at myself in an introspective way to see how I’ve changed as a person because of my time abroad. But I’ve got something better planned for my avid blog readers who until recently didn’t know I was still posting. Today for all of you I am going to explain how much I hate the first question 95% of people have asked me: ‘how was Africa?’

                ‘How was Africa Erik?’

‘Welllllll….. it was nice thanks for asking, how was North America?’

Can y’all see what I’m getting at when I flip the question around? How am I supposed to answer that question? Is there any way to answer it? Because if so I’m listening.

Okay rewind, lets break that question down. ‘how was Africa?’.  From a personal standpoint I still stutter when I get asked the forbidden question because I have not found an answer that doesn’t cause me to mumble around ending with -it was pretty cool. Unless me and whoever is asking the question has 128 hours, plenty of rice and fish, some ataaya, and some tissues for when I talk about my host family I cannot answer that question. Sorry not sorry, find a new question. For the curious reader a better question would be more specific, asking about something in depth, or asking about something that was unique to my experience. ‘What was your favorite thing about SENEGAL?’ is a question I love getting because I can easily start a conversation about my host family. Or asking about the food, because I consider myself an expert involving rice and fish at this point. Just literally anything but ‘how was Africa?’

Okay part two of the breakdown of the forbidden question, focusing on the Africa part. From a geographic standpoint I can only answer the forbidden question 1.8% truthfully because Senegal is one of 54 countries that make up the continent of Africa. On top of that I can’t even tell you everything about Senegal, I spent most of my time sitting under mango trees cracking jokes with my brothers, not searching for the answers to all your burning questions about Africa. Another point I have been asked about my time in SENEGAL ONCE! (Shout-out to ski coach Dan). In Basic conversation I’ve noticed that Africa gets molded into one unit of land and not much is spoken of its 54 individual countries. I can almost guarantee that the fellows in Brazil, Ecuador, or India rarely, if ever, get asked ‘How was South America/Asia?’ Being conscience of our word choice goes a long way.

I’m realizing now I should have wrote this blog about two months ago to save me some trouble. Oh well, maybe I’ll do that for when I go back to the singular unit of land called Africa (Source-Toto). Anyway, I’m not sure what you, my reader is going to get out of this blog post, but it was more on topic than any of my recent fishing trips.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my final(?) blog post I’m going to ask to give all of yourselves a big pat on the back. I made it 8 months in a rural village in Senegal, but that sounds easier than having to keep up with my non-edited, mistake and misspelling ridden, armature writing. And for that you all deserve a pat on the back. And now to end this blog like I ended every of my daily journal entries:

Erik Out

Erik Oline