Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Good Life

First off, thank you so much for all the comments so far! It makes me feel as if I'm not so far from home :)

Living in Senegal seem to suit me quite well. I have spent the last week exploring Dakar, getting to know my host family and starting classes. Dakar never ceases to amaze me. It seems that around every corner, there is something new to see. We went on a tour of the city with the MSID leaders and got to see some of the most fantastic views I have ever had the priviledge to view (see pictures below). The city is almost completely surrounded by shoreline and much of that shoreline looks like a mix between the northshore on lake Superior and the Cliffs of Moore in Ireland. In other words, it's absolutely gorgeous. We also visited Ile de Goree (last four pics), a place that is literally the closest thing to paradise I think I have ever seen.

My family is huge and full of life. I have 2 host sisters, 4 host brothers, 4 host cousins and a mom who live in the house and 2 other host sisters who visit often. We live in Liberte 3, a tightknit neighborhood in the heart of Dakar. My family mostly speaks in Wolof to eachother and French when they're talking to me. It's been a major language immersion but thankfully everyone's fairly patient with my minor incompetence.

I do have my own room which is really helpful considering that for the entire day, I am surrounded by people. I have really enjoyed playing with the little kids, using the common language of laughter. My two host sisters are great, they are so fun to talk to and they have taken on the personal responsibility of teaching me Wolof and improving my French. My oldest host brother, Babacar, speaks english very well which can be helpful but my sister, Baaly, made a rule of no english in the house...So, it's not that helpful now.

Babacar and I have very similar musical tastes which is both suprising and fantastic. We spent multiple hours the other night watching a B.B King concert on DVD! I am amazed in general, how much of the United States has made it to Senegal. There are insane amounts of American TV and movies, American cars and imported American food (though it's very expensive).

Classes are going well. They are definately more challenging since they are all in French but since I'm farmiliar with many of the topics, it's a good challenge. We started Wolof yesterday which I can tell will be difficult, none of the words are at all farmilier but I am so happy to start and be able to comprehend the going-ons at home.

Well, it's time to head home from school, until next time! (by the way, please excuse spelling errors, I didn't have a chance to spell check...and I obviously don't know how to format pics either)


  1. Yayyy I'm so happy to hear from you and know that you're loving it! I started an email to you this morning but I didn't finish and then I was late for Swahili...oops. But I'll finish it soon, so I'll write more there. The pictures are AWESOME. And that sounds like bustling household! Good luck with the French!!

  2. Kaela,

    Fabulous pictures! The colors are so vivid!

    Your word description captures the environment wonderfully!

    Taking classes in a foreign language! Oh my goodness. And then learning a new language in French.... it boggles the mind!

    The household sounds so alive and supportive.

    Colin has returned from his trip to Italy. He loved it and he took 575 pictures. In one small city of Sicily the entire town came to greet the wind ensemble when they arrived via bus. The people made an arch for them as they escorted them to the concert hall. Their own city band played Sousa marches to welcome them. After hte concert they fed them a meal made from animals and plants all raised by the town dwellers. I will let him share more.

    Eileen has her music program with her 120 fifth graders today. Colin is joining her to play drums for the morning rehearsal, and two performances.

    I continue to spend most of my day in the standing frame or on the mat. Wound is getting smaller.
    I plan to begin teaching on Monday, Feb. 1st.

    Continue to flourish. You are awesome and inspiring!


    Uncle Mike

  3. Hey Kaela!!

    We are so lucky to be able to experience Senegal through your eyes. It sounds/looks amazing!

    Well, let's see- incredible beauty, language immersion (2 languages), a host family experience brimming with life, communicating through music and laughter, new foods, and new friends- I'm guessing your experience is meeting all expectations!!

    Keep enjoying, and keep sharing with us!!
    Think of you often....