Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

So I’m Going to be Raising a Ten Year old and a Thirteen Year Old in West Africa March 18, 2012

Filed under: Africa,parenting,Senegal — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

 

 

Part of the getting ready process is deciding how much info to share (or not share) with my children ahead of time about what they might expect in Africa. There is a fine line between preparing them and scaring them. The photo above is from a different expat’s family and some of the food items they packed for their move. The photo below is a traditional Senegalese meal that is eaten with your right hand. Now I expect that our reality will live somewhere in between the two photos.

There will be things that we pack for the move, including food or household items that will just make things easier for everyone (One child could live on instant oatmeal). I also expect that we will have many opportunities to eat traditional Senegalese meals. I’m guessing that silverwear can be used if that is the comfort level for the kids (or us). I don’t feel the need to replicate the exact eating or grocery experience for my family while we are there. That is one of many things I am looking forward to as being able to experience a different culture.

I am taking the opportunity when things come up in regular conversation to make connections for them.

Examples-

child–“Wow there is a lot of trash along the highways. It must have been under the snow that melted.”

me–“You know not every where in the world has trash pick-up like we do here in Ohio. Some places don’t have trash pick-up at their house.”

child-“I can’t believe that guy just can the red light.”

me–“Even though traffic laws are very important to obey, not everyone always does that, so you always have to be thinking about your safety when you are walking and not take the traffic rules for granted.”

On the other hand, I don’t like it when people word their comments to me in a way that implies that the children and I should be terribly frightened. I’m sure they aren’t thinking about it that way, but it does honk me off a little.

 “You must be so trepidatious!” (We aren’t, excited-not nervous. And stop suggesting to my kids that there is anything of which they should be afraid.)

“Your poor mother must be beside herself!” (She’s not, but my mother-in-law is a different story. CNN effect)

“I hope you’ll be able to communicate from over there in some way.” (Yes-they have phone, internet, Facebook, parcel post, etc.)

I have been preparing by reading blogs by people who currently live in Dakar or Senegal. I have been enjoying:

Girl, Guy, and Globe: A Tale of Two Americans Living Abroad

Senegal Daily 

The View From Here (an Ohio missionary couple in rural Senegal) is also one I check frequently.

I know that there isn’t anything that is going to be able to completely prepare all of us for this move, but it IS going to be a positive experience for all and we are going to learn a ton that we would not be able to learn by moving to Indiana or even London.

It’s okay if the idea of moving to West Africa is completely beyond your wild imagination. Everyone has different comfort levels. We aren’t scared. We are excited and know that there are going to be highs and lows along the way, but so would there even if we never set a foot outside of Granville.

Advertisements
 

First Trip to Dakar, Senegal March 17, 2012

Filed under: Africa,Dakar,Senegal — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:28 pm

Satellite photo of Dakar

My husband and I are preparing to travel to Dakar, Senegal at the end of the week. We’ve had our shots, have our malaria pills, have packed and repacked our suitcases and now wait with nervous and excited anticipation for the journey to begin. From Ohio, it’s about a fourteen hour trip. That includes a several hour layover in New York before boarding the second flight. From New York or D.C.  to Dakar, the flight is seven or eight hours. I think when most people ask me about the flight, they are expecting a much longer travel time. It’s not that far! You should definietly come and visit in the next couple years.

We will have the opportunity to stay in Dakar for most of the week and I’ll be able to spend several days at the International School of Dakar meeting with the current curriculum coordinator, meet more staff, and orient myself to the important work they have already accomplished in the past several years. I’m also looking forward to just getting the lay of the land and probably making some silly mistakes without the kids there. I’ve been working on brushing off my very rusty French, but I can read it much better than I can speak it.

We are taking the opportunity to spend a couple days south of Dakar in Saly on the Petite Cote coastline. Having not traveled together without children since our honeymoon, we are looking forward to some time just for us. Bandia Park animal reserve is on our itinerary for the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Petite Cote

 

Africa is REALLY big! February 25, 2012

Filed under: Africa — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:31 am
Tags: