Sodoku?!

Alec Yeh - Senegal


October 8, 2009

It’s weird to think that so many things in Senegal and so many things in the US are actually quite similar.

I ordered just a simple omelette for lunch; essentially a fried egg. It’s weird to think when you order a fried egg anywhere, a fried egg will always be a fried egg. You can’t really fry an egg differently in US than in Senegal, or in Japan, or in Australia. Granted, the eggs may be different quality or different size, but essentially, an egg is an egg. Yet they are so delicious, anywhere you eat them.

After lunch, I really got thinking about how some things are just the same. And when I walked by my host mother, Saly, I saw her doing the daily sodoku in the paper. And I was like “SODOKU!?! I LOVE SODOKUS! You do sodokus?!” She kind of just laughed and gave me that look of, “Yeah, freak. Why wouldn’t I do sodokus?” Granted, she didn’t say that (not like I would’ve understood her), but why did I think that Africans wouldn’t do sodokus? I mean, it’s not like numbers aren’t universal. It’s not like Africans can’t do math? But I guess because of my preconceived notions about Africa, Africans being illiterate, or Africans not being able to afford the newspaper, somehow I had the idea in my head that sodokus wouldn’t be found anywhere else but in the Western world. I was floored by the fact that my host mother, being Senegalese, speaking only French and Wolof, being generations older than myself, and I had this particular thing in common: sodoku.

Then this got me thinking about crosswords or the kenken. I do those daily, though I struggle on the crossword. But do the Senegalese have kenkens or crosswords as well? I gotta research that.

A similar story. During dinner, my host family was watching the TV show “Heroes”, but in French. I use to watch “Heroes” all the time (before then it got more and more ridiculous), and I was shocked to find “Heroes” being broadcasted in Senegal. Once again, another thing that we had in common; something I never would have imagined.

The world is so interconnected. Globalization is incredible. I could get on the plane, and within a day, I can be in China, or Yemen, or Indonesia. I could pick up a phone and call every single one of you guys right now, even though I’m worlds away. The world shrinks every single day, yet most of us haven’t ever seen the other parts of the world.

Oh, and they were watching John Legend on TV as well. Crazy.

Alec Yeh