Another Darn Day in Dakar

Another guest blogger, Anna! Anna currently lives in Dakar, Senegal, working for a San Francisco based nonprofit, Kiva. Kiva is a leader in peer-to-peer lending via the internet, to and from people in all parts of the world.

Today marked one of those mornings where my emotions ran wild; I’m guessing, I’m hoping, oh please — tell me we all know the sort?  Or maybe I’m just a total March hare.

In the time span of 45 minutes, I went from… feeling unflappable, invincible, and filled with gumption to tackle any and all inevitable nonsense the day would throw at me, to… unfathomably indignant, and… shortly thereafter, tears which were unreasonably pathetic but impossible to hold back.

The respective events were as follows.

Event 1:

I woke up to a warm shower, a fan in working order, a roach-free pile of snacks I accidentally left near my bed, a Nescafe coffee, and an omelet breakfast.  It.  Was.  Amazing.

Event 2:

Time to hail a cab, destination: work.  Some call me unrelenting, as I don’t budge with my prices; I, on the other hand, much prefer to dub myself “bargain-seeking.”  I do often tip, mind you, which is uncommon and maybe even frowned upon here in Senegal.

After three “no way” responses, I settled for the fourth offer, a bit steeper than my normal fare.   I was in a hurry, otherwise I likely would have held off until cab 13 or even 28.  Once inside, seatbelt non-existent as is often the case, the “ride” (roller coaster?) began.

It was as if I had been transported into the movie “Speed.”  Sure, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll gladly play Sandra Bullock.  My cab driver would not stop for anything — anything.  Not for the elderly man crossing the street with the kindest smile and gentle wave requesting my driver slow down.  Not for the stoplight, which was red.  Not for the bus which was merging into our lane with visibly not a pinch of concern about our existence.  Not for a group of four adorable schoolgirls in the crosswalk (crosswalk!), one of whom my driver ended up brushing with his wing mirror.

Event 3:

After heaving a huge sigh of relief to have made it out of the cab in one piece, I approached my pseudo-desk at work which — normally cleared, with the exception of one banana which I purposefully leave behind each night as a snack for the next morning – was bedecked with books and projects and heaps of papers my colleagues needed me to “review.”  As for the banana?  Nowhere to be found.

Appearing what I’m sure was run-down and quite forlorn, I pointed to the pile of work, and tongue-in-cheek looked at my colleagues while saying: “Yay!  This is exactly what I was looking forward to!  It’s not like I have my own slew reports to complete.”  They glared at me, stone-faced, lending no words of empathy or even acknowledgement, and casually returned to their gazes to whatever project lay before them.  That’s when my tears were shed.

Downtown Dakar.

But alas I’m at home as I write this, and with a beer in hand (albeit a really watery one), so I suppose all is well that ends well.  And now that you know my sob story and I’ve made a solid first impression, maybe we can swap stories…?  As it is, I’m presuming that if you’re reading this blog in the first place, you fit into one of the following three categories:

a.)    You, like Maya, are an avid traveler, and appreciate the joys which come from the absurdities of being abroad.

b.)   You follow Maya’s travels and, like me, revel in her adventures — a sort of “let me live through you, Maya!”

c.)    You’re just downright awesome, because it’s well-accepted that you can’t associate with Maya without being top-notch.

So now that we’ve established some ethos, allow me to briefly introduce myself before I wrap this up.

I’m Anna.  I’m a cheese-lover (any kind, I’m not picky!), papaya-avoider (blegh, honestly to me there’s nothing more nasty) and my vices are many.  Amongst them:  I’m  scared of cats, I have the hardest time remembering the simplest sports rules which – as many can attest to — makes me a dreaded game-going companion, and I’m so embarrassingly out-of-touch with pop culture it’s scary, or off-putting, depending on your take.  For example: I just yesterday learned of Boo, that adorable dog that is so cute he just simply can’t be real.  Is he (she) real?!

More pertinent, however, is that I’m a friend and long-time admirer of Maya’s from my DC days which… were not long ago.  Though my time with Maya was too brief, it was certainly extensive enough to know that as I’m sitting here in steamy Dakar with my watery beer, roach-free strange-flavored snacks, and working fan (hallelujah!), most of you are likely taking full advantage of Maya’s infamous DC ornament parties, or accompanying her to concerts at The Willard, or enjoying so thoroughly her always-thoughtful Holiday greeting cards.  How jealous I am.  Hug her for me, will you?

Happy Holidays from Senegal!


For more information on Kiva, go here.


1 Comment

Filed under Guest Bloggers, Travel

One response to “Another Darn Day in Dakar

  1. Pingback: Another Darn Day in Dakar | Home Far Away From Home

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