Happy New Year from Senegal! I hope you had a merry Christmas and happy New Year, even though it may have looked very different for many of you this year. For me, it was my first Christmas in Senegal, and I had a lovely day celebrating with friends and colleagues.
So what have these last few weeks looked like for me? Here are some of the noteworthy parts, though of course there are others, too. Life isn’t dull . . .
- Reconnecting with co-workers here – it was nice to realize that, unlike when I came in January, they aren’t strangers anymore. Thanks for being part of my life, those of you who are here!
- Trying to figure out life here – whether this means realizing that breakfast is usually at 11 and lunch anytime between 1 and 4, that when you hear a certain honking sound it means that the garbage truck is here and you can take out your garbage if you haven’t already, or figuring out how to meet up with a friend when neither of us knows our way around the city.
- Getting together with friends – I have a few local friends here. You know, maybe about a handful. But I’ve gotten to spend time with several of them already, which is fun!
- Meeting new friends – Whether it’s saying hi to neighbors or meeting the friends of friends, beginning to know and be known makes you feel more at home, at least it seems to me. One set of friends that I’ve enjoyed getting to start to know are some Jula speakers. It feels nice to be able to speak Jula again, and hopefully shine for Jesus at the same time!
- Learning new covid restrictions – Like lots of other places, we’re on a second wave. But it’s not nearly as bad (at least officially) as places like the US. We have to wear masks a lot and there is now a 9-5 curfew, but we still get to get together with friends and enjoy the sunshine!
- Learning Wolof (the main language spoken around me here in the city in Senegal) – Well, one of my roommates and I have been trying to learn some Wolof. But between busy schedules and language helpers having/getting other jobs, it’s been a bit of a slow process. But I think I know at least a bit more than when I came in November. (On a side note, I’ve enjoyed learning some German from my neighbors and roommates, too!)
- Working on my thesis – I’ve made a lot of progress on it, and hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel! If you’re curious what it’s about, follow this link to the 3-minute Vimeo video I made for my school this last week. Hopefully the things I’m learning working on my thesis will help others here in West Africa, where “reported speech” (watch my video at the link above) works differently than in most other parts of the world.
- Helping others with linguistics – This is always fun, though I’m not sure that I have very good answers to their questions. At least I’m able to help some others as I create this new, badly needed role.
Thanks for being on this journey with me!