|Flower outside my window|
|My pen pals at Peabody|
Thankfully, now that November is here, there’s s finally a touch of coolness in the morning air (that lasts for about an hour or two), so I’ve started doing a 20-min yoga pod cast routine every morning. That’s been really good for me, as I haven’t had much exercise since I arrived in Senegal and it helps clear my mind and ground me. The day quickly warms up after that; it’s been well-over 100 degrees everyday since I arrived in Diourbel. Several times a week, I take a mid-morning walk to the Post Office to see if anyone loves me (hint hint) and along the way, I usually treat myself to a hard-boiled egg that the bean sandwich lady at the train station sells. After that, I wander aimless through the market trying very hard to embrace my new surroundings but am quickly turned off by all of the vendors who push their wares on me. The market is not really a place for window-shopping. You've got to know what you want, where to get it, and get in and out of there fast.
|À la Gare (at the train station)|
|À la Poste (at the Post Office)|
My host mother went to visit her sister in Saint Louis this week, so I got to experiment a bit with cooking. I found some no-boil lasagna noodles in a Toubab store in Kaolak last week when I traveled there for a meeting and decided to try making lasagna in our solar oven. This was no easy task and it ended up costing me about $20 in ingredients (which is a fortune here). I have to say, it turned out pretty tasty. I’d made an entire pan of it and only Ibou and I were around for dinner that night, so now I’m dealing with the leftovers, which is a little tricky because even though we have a refrigerator, the electricity goes out for hours on a daily basis. The next night I made Salad Niçoise, which also cost a pretty penny, but was equally impressive. Trying to eat like an American here is not cheap, nor is it easy. Cooking in Senegal is like cooking while car camping. You’ve got pots and pans at your disposal, but have to cook everything over a one-burner propane tank in the sandy courtyard, with limited prep station room (I used plastic chairs as my counter tops), and running water but no sink. People are so in the habit of eating a shared communal platter and welcoming anyone who shows up at their door to eat with them that I was caught off-guard the second night I cooked when two work-mates of my Ibou’s appeared after I’d already plated up two lovely salads. The invitation I extended for them to join us seemed a little insincere, which I guess it was. Why hadn’t they shown up the night before when I had a pan full of lasagna? I couldn't even pull that out for the fridge to heat it up them because our only oven is the solar oven and it was already past dark..
|My prep station|
|Assembling the lasagna in the sand|
|The result of leaning over the saucepan|
|Falou helping me with the oven|
|The finished product.|
|My salad Niçoise|
On Halloween, my Ancienne (the PCV whose site I took over) was here helping us with the Solar Oven Marketing workshop, so she and I went to the market in search of pumpkins or squash to carve. Unfortunately, the squash that is served in Thiéboudienne this time of year is usually sold in individual pre-cut chunks and we couldn’t find a whole one, so we opted for a couple of watermelons and carved those instead. We explained the concept of Halloween to the workshop participants and they all encouraged us to eat a lot that day, since holidays here are often centered around feasting.
|Eco-villagers admiring the Jack-O-Melon|
|Khady convincing her niece not to be scared|
Everyone here is gearing up for the next big holiday, Tabaski, known across the Muslim world as Eid al-Adha (“Festival of Sacrafice”). According to my Cross Cultural Journal, “Tabaski commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God. At the last minute, God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead, in reward for Ibrahim’s commitment. In commemoration of this event, Muslims around the world celebrate by slaughtering a ram (or goat, cow, etc. depending on the family’s wealth), dividing it into shares, and celebrating with family and friends. Tabaski occurs approximately two months and ten days after Korite, the end of Ramaden.”
|This is our kitchen area. Note the propane cook stove (red).|
|My new friends|
|My tutor's kid with his kid.|