Today was a pretty relaxing day today. Well, usally shopping is pretty relaxing for me, but this experience was a little different. There are a few (ok, quite a few!) things that I will really have to adjust to when we move to Senegal, and we experienced a couple of those today.
First, the roads. I really have no words to describe the road system here. Now, they tell me it is not always this bad. The city is completely under construction now because in about a year they have planned a big worldwide Muslim conference here in Dakar. They are trying to get the road system up to speed, and that means a lot of detours now. Now the detours here are not just take this street this way. Often you detour from a paved road, onto a partially finished (meaning still dirt) exit ramp, and then onto a side street that has construction materials from the house being built halfway in the street. There are no street signs either, at least not that I have seen. All this to say, one of my big fears about moving here is getting lost! I will probably only go places with Wayne at first and if I do go by myself, take only roads I know. I will survive somehow.
Another aspect of life that I will have to get used to is the shopping here. In the States, I'm not even that much of a bargain shopper. If I really want or need something, I will pay what they ask! If it's too much, I won't get it. That's not how things work here. We were in a market buying clothes today, and the people looked at the color of our skin (the Wolof word for 'gringo' is 'tubob') and when they saw how white we were (yes, I really stick out!) they would ask a price way far above what we ended up paying for it. Luckily, our hostess and guide, Alice, speaks Wolof very well and really impressed them. She impressed me too! She could get them down below half of their first asking price! I just nodded and followed her when she would start to leave the shop. Now, we're not really ripping these people off by not paying what they ask and bartering, but it is really going to take some getting used to for me. I don't like confrontation! And that is what it feels like to me. The good thing in all of this is that Wayne thinks shopping will be fun here, so I might get him to go with me some!
This evening we had a nice dinner with the staff of ITES (the college) and tomorrow we will get together again with a couple who just moved here and I'm sure can give us some advice on our upcoming adventure!
Who Are We
We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott