Bucket Bath Gone Wrong
The first home visit I had to begin taking bucket baths. I didn’t think it was that big of deal to splash water from a bucket onto my body, suds up and splash rinse. Apparently I was uninformed that I was supposed to have a tiny bucket to do the rinsing (although in hindsight it seems pretty self explanatory.) This for the first couple of days did not pose much of a problem. However, it was always inconvenient when trying to wash my hair. I had to bend over, dip hair in the bucket, shampoo and then dip and rinse.
Inconvenience turned to disappointment the last day of my first home stay when rinsing my hair bent completely over, ended in me getting my hair stuck in the bucket handle. There I was in Senegal, standing completely naked, in a small dark concrete room (lit only by my headlamp hanging in the corner), bent over with my head stuck in a bucket. It must have been a full minute before I freed myself from confines of the evil bucket that had captured me. As a friend of mine and fellow trainee said. “shit just got real.” Needless to say, I have now mastered the task of bucket bathing.
Radi/Ice Cream Truck
Throughout each day we take several breaks to trek to radi/crème glass vendors in our village. Radi or crème glass is the best idea Senegal ever had. This scrumptious delight is frozen juice in little plastic bags. The juice is usually bissap or from baobab fruit. One is never quite sure what all has touched the outside of these radi bags but when you bite into the corner and frozen heaven enters your mouth it is the least of your worries. One day while attempting to obtain radi our group was told it was gone for the day. Disappointed we walked away and when doing so heard a honking sound. We turned in the direction that the sound originated only to find a man pushing a cart with a picture of an ice cream cone on it. He was honking a horn like the type you see on little girl’s bicycles. There in Sangalkam we purchased what was almost ice cream…mmm.
Pet Chicken..Pot pie
There was a chicken hanging out at our compound for a couple days and I asked my family if they had bought it. They said that it had wandered in and would wander away soon. It was sleeping in the kitchen, which I found ironic. At night it was falling asleep like a human nodding off. I used him in sentences while studying Pula Futa. Himo tampibue. He is very tired. After our bonding study session I headed to school. When I came back I saw my sister plucking my friend for dinner that night. Guess he should have wandered away when he had the chance.
At my home-stay I am lucky enough to have electricity and running water most of the time. This is something that I treasure dearly because I know I will not have it for the next two years. The other night the electricity went out in my village for a full day and night. For dinner my host family always crowds around the food bowl under our outdoor light. Without it we had one candle stuck in the ground and couldn't actually see each other, let along our surroundings or what we were attempting to eat. I saved the day by coming to the bowl with my headlamp on so I could shine it into our shared meal. It was so Africa meets America. I had to giggle thinking about how my friends in the states would react to seeing me eat around a bowl with 12 other people wearing a headlamp.
PS: People in Senegal think that Peace Corps Volunteers are in the CIA. My language instructor says that they are convinced because we write notes every night (i.e. journal). She has tried to explain that it is simply for our own record keeping but some people insist on believing that we are spies.