Well, my “Rural Visit” ended up being pretty much the opposite of the experience we were supposed to have. As our program director prepped us for these week-long trips, he told us to be ready to be surrounded by Senegalese villagers who didn’t speak French or Wolof, to be put to work harvesting peanuts or transforming cereals into millet, and to be totally disconnected from the outside world.
Instead, I found myself in Thiès, a fairly large and bustling city, staying with a Peace Corps volunteer who works a regular 9-5 job at the Peace Corps house in an air-conditioned computer lab. Instead of harvesting peanuts, I partook in the devouring of TWO half-pound Reese’s Cups. Rather than transforming cereals, I ATE cereal…lots of it. For dinner. Along with all other manner of Western food: salads, garlic bread, popcorn, and tons of vegetables. It was like a reprieve from Senegalese living, rather than an immersion into it. So although I wish I could have had a real “rural” experience, I still had an enjoyable week.
On to my favorite subject of the moment: Halloween. I realize it’s November now, and therefore I should no longer be celebrating Halloween. BUT: the same lack of noticeable weather and season change in Senegal that is making me miss Fall in Ohio also enables me to totally ignore typical holiday boundaries (silver lining!). If I want to watch Halloweentown in November (although, let’s be real, I also watch it in July), then who cares? It won’t feel any less like Halloween than October 31st did, when I wore a tank top and skirt to class and still sweat bullets. Same with Christmas: While everyone else has to wait until the day after Thanksgiving (ostensibly) to have Christmas cheer, I can start the merriment whenever I want. So today I will eat some candy corn, wear ghost earrings, and watch Halloween TV specials online. Maybe tomorrow I’ll listen to some Christmas carols and pair my (one) reddish shirt with my (one) pair of greenish pants. Who cares? Certainly not the Senegalese man I passed today sporting a “Drink beer, get more head” shirt, paired with a prayer cap and jelly shoes.
Merry Hallo-ChristmEasterukkah, folks.