Time Capsule

Ariel Vardy - Senegal


August 22, 2012

This may not be so interesting right NOW, but It will be interesting later. I am creating a time capsule where I am locking up an opinion of all these “Genres” such as Medication, food ect, and I am writing my thoughts on them NOW. Then after the trip, I will write a similar blog, with my opinion POST trip. It will be interesting to see my transformation.

 

Medication

I am antsy about the Malaria pills, will I feel their side effects? Will they make me constantly sick? Will I forget to take them? Will they be a cultural barrier between me and my family? I did not really want to take them at all, but my doctor convinced me otherwise, after a long informed chat. Now I am curious how prevalent they will be in my life. I got a “Steri Pen” so I can drink the water, I wonder if I will use it consistently/if it will keep me drinking. I wonder how the locals will respond to that!

Food

I am really excited for the food. I don’t really like stews, and that’s a pity because they are big on that, but I love all the ingredients they use! Lamb and peanut and mango and fish and garlic and plantain and chicken and rice and couscous! I don’t think I will mind eating with my hands, but maybe my hands will not be able to take the heat of the food? Will I LOVE the food, or think it’s alright? Also, I will REALLY want to cook for them, will they let me/like my food? Haha, I’ll find out!

Rural village

So I have been telling people I might not have internet access in the village, that my showers are likely to be buckets of cold water, that the bathroom will be a hole and that there will be minimal electricity. Will this all happen as I say it? Will I really be THAT rural (as I requested)? I hope the village speaks Wolof, because I want to learn that a lot more than French. How else will the rural and underdeveloped-ness manifest itself? Are things cooked by fire or stove? How do the kids entertain themselves, by soccer or games that require no objects, not even a soccer ball! Are the houses going to be huts/smaller shapes that do not seem to have sound/total walls from inside to out or room separation? Or will they have decent enough money to put up real walls and totally different rooms? Will some of them have pirated/knockoff ipod/music players, or will it strictly be drumming for music?

Music

I am bringing a ukulele that I would like to learn while abroad to keep my mind thinking in terms of music. I need a lot of time to work on it + songs to sing, how does the village treat music? I bet a lot of drumming, I took a class on Senegalese drumming, I wonder if what I learn will help me.

Weather

I was told that it is totally dessert and sand and dry heat. Will I be able to take that? I think it will mess up my eating and energy schedule for a while, but will I acclimate? I went to Israel for about a month, and I never fuller acclimated to that heat, and it just made me skinny because I never ate. Maybe Senegal will be the perfect weight loss plan? Will I sun-burn hard, or will the village have tricks for me to make sure I stay in good shape? When it rains, will the rain include the beautiful Washington rain smell? I would love some of that! I heard that in Senegal, people strictly wear pants, aahh, that sounds even hotter! I hope I get clothes tailored that best works in heat! ALSO—HOW WILL I SLEEP AT NIGHT IN THAT HEAT!!!

Language

I am nervous that communications will be REALLY hard for a REALLY long while. Also I am scared that in learning French and Wolof, ill forget my French and Hebrew, which are my current “foreign languages”. How will I talk to people, only in mine? Does that mean no one will know the interesting details about me/any of my more complicated thoughts? I wonder how much you can get to know a person, decide to like them only through eye contact, smile, and broken, confusing miming. Will ANYONE in the language speak English? I have been saying no, but I don’t really know, maybe I’ll get lucky. But maybe I don’t want an English speaker, that sounds too easy, I want total immersion.

Poverty

What does poverty look like? Will my village be poor, or just not developed to western standards? Will I see poverty and will it affect how I think/act? The line kids use is “don’t throw that away, think of the starving kids in Africa”, will I see those? Will it make me want to always finish my food (haha)? Will I come back to America wanting to wash my own clothes/ having a new sense of mobility, or just LOVING all the machines and ease of western life (probably both).

My stuff

I am scared that during my 7 months, SOMETHING of value will get stolen/damaged/lost, can I stop that? I am also concerned that I will not find an appropriate place to set up the slack line, I want to set it up so bad!!! Will that work out? Will I find good photos for my camera? I was told the village will all want to touch, and swarm my camera, will I learn how to fend that off?

Ariel Vardy