Monday, January 15, 2007

je suis arrivee...

I got to dakar yesterday after more than 24 hours of travel. I flew from RDU to LGA taxied to JFK flew to Madrid overnight then from Madrid to Dakar and arrived after 10. Immigration was a hassle to get through, but at least all my luggage arrived with me. We were (30 something kids) all picked up and taken to the hotel where we will be staying for this week of orientation. Today we met up in the lobby then walked to Suffolk University's Dakar campus. This is where we will be taking our classes. Suffolk here prepares African students for a degree at the Suffolk in the US. Most of the students speak French as their first language, so they have an exchange program where we help them with english and they help us with french.
So you ask about French...well, to be honest, I have said very little in French. We are mostly focusing on acquiring much needed Wolof language skills. The greetings here are very elaborate. Here is an example: Justine -Saalamalaykum (peace be with you) Senegalese person: Malaykumsaalam (and with you). Justine: Nanga Def? (how are you, in wolof) Senegalese: Maangi fi (I am fine). Justine: Naka waa ker ga? (and your family, how are they?) Senegalese: Nunga fa (they are fine). and then you ask about work and other things. And its rude if you dont greet people you know, everytime you see them. You always respond in the positive, you don't rattle on about your bad day. I can't remember the greetings, so i better start practicing.
I move in with my host family on friday, tomorrow we have the french placement test (yikes), and we start wolof courses tomorrow as well. There are a lot of kids who are really good at french, but there are also alot that are on my level, thank goodness. Everyone seems really interesting and nice, and pretty genuine about their interest in french language improvement and senegalese cultural understanding. I will post again soon!

2 comments:

Dad said...

Hi Justine!

I am glad that you made it safe and sound and hope that you enjoy your stay in Senegal. Learn a lot, teach a lot and have fun!

Love,
Dad

AnnaD said...

Glad you made it safely after such a long travel time.