Tubab’s Newspaper

Christian Gath - Senegal

October 15, 2015

Tubab's Newspaper

As almost every morning my host brother and I walked to the little boutique across the main road to get the family's bread for the day. As for the bread, it is simply delicious here, a mixture of French baguette, Italian Ciabatta and Arab pita bread all combined in the same loaf. Well but back to that very morning, we arrive at the boutique, after the usual greeting process that incorporates both sides to asked the other after at least 3 family members and their wellbeing, my brother orders "mburu jego",six bread. And while he is still engaging in a conversation with the boutique owner of which I don't understand much he hands me the 6 loafs of bread. Like most things here they are wrapped in a piece of newspaper. Well so far nothing abnormal and nothing worth writing a blog post about, but on this particular morning my view falls on the newspaper in my hand. Expecting to read the news from yesterday in French I read in big letters "Badges and Head Scarves" next to the picture of a waving American flag. I take a closer look at the English words and read the first lines of the announced article, English. 

Somewhat excited I unfold the page, almost dropping the bread to the floor only to find a page of the "Brooklyn Currier" in my hands, published in the last week of May 2015. I take my eyes off the featured girls in military uniforms and ask the shopkeeper where this paper comes from. He smiles and answers that he buys stacks of it for very little money, and this was the cheapest way to wrap his goods.

Still surprised of the finding of an American newspaper in a small village in the middle of Senegal I give the whole thing a second thought, sure that food would be wrapped in old newspaper back home as well would it not be forbidden by some health ministry, I wonder why I had not questioned the newspapers-wrappers early considering that I had not seen anyone selling or reading newspaper, which is in a country with a literacy rate of barely 40% less surprising. Well at least the newspaper is recycled are my concluding thoughts as my brother and I leave the boutique, whether the shipping makes it environmentally sustainable is another question.

Christian Gath