This week has been full of hilarious encounters of the type I’m convinced can only take place in Senegal (particularly if you have a penchant for walking around the city alone, as I do…sorry, Mom).
First, I made a (kind of) Senegalese friend the other day! By which I mean, he didn’t ask me to marry him right away…
So there I was, reading a book at the beachfill, when a ridiculously ripped Senegalese man came up to me and asked if he could leave his shirt by me so that it didn’t get stolen while he worked out. I agreed, well, okay, I guess I could do such a thing. After he brought over his shirt, though, he sat down next to me and started asking about my book. He then embarked on a very long rant (clearly his exercise regimen was not a priority today) about how important it is to elevate the mind and spirit through literature and deep thought, and that everything else in life was “just the details.” We actually ended up having a really interesting conversation about Senegal’s government, the problem of talibé (Koranic school kids that are forced to beg for money in the streets), and the importance of higher education. I spent the whole conversation in complete fascination—partially because the whole thing was happening in French and I was keeping up, partially because this is the first time a random Senegalese guy has approached me with something other than a marriage proposal. He ended up walking me home (he offered for me to stop by his house so he could give me a “gift”… Don’t worry, I declined, Mom) and he only asked me if I had a husband once! Almost too good to be true.
Later that day, a particularly yellow-skinned man with no teeth approached me on the street and said, “Hey! Amereecan!” He then proceeded to tell me that he used to live in Rhode Island and I was thus his American “sister.” To test him, I said (in French), “Oh, then you must speak English?” And he said, “Well…uh…you speak French, so that doesn’t matter.” Clearly a U.S. native. Look out, Rhode Island, Senegalese people are feigning citizenship…
Tonight, I had a genuinely hilarious and fascinating talk with my little brother. First, we discussed how he wants to be an assassin when he grows up so that he can cut off people’s heads and then examine their brains to see if they’re crazy or not, starting with me (no worries, he was clearly joking this time). I reminded him that he already knows I’m crazy, and he conceded. Then he taught me how to fist fight, showing off his toothpick arms and telling me how strong he is. After such a convincing display of fortitude, I informed him that I would be locking my door tonight for fear of him.
Suddenly he stopped attempting to punch me and said, “I’m going to teach you a life lesson now: You shouldn’t be afraid of anyone in this life, except your mom, your dad, and God.” He informed me that God is not, in fact, human, and then prompted me to explain to him what God is. I said, “Well, I guess God is just…God.” He said, “Nope. God is ‘dot dot dot,’ because nobody will know what God is until they die.”
Well, geez. Who knew we had a little philosopher on our hands… What’s more, when I asked him who he wanted to be elected president in Senegal’s next election, he said, “My dad.” Precious. So, as for What I Will Miss About Senegal, Part Two, I’m going to have to say…I’ll miss Saër’s crazy antics, even the stories involving my death (of which there were several tonight).
Finally: The other night the lightbulb in my bedroom burnt out. So, naturally, my family hired an electrician to replace the bulb. …Yes, they really did.