Sitting at the dining room table, watching my dog play with the flies buzzing around his ears, listening to the voices on the radio upstairs, and sweating a mile a minute- I got this idea to do a Myth vs Fact post as my way of letting you, dear readers, into my lifestyle here in Dakar. So without further ado...
MYTH vs FACT : Life Overseas Edition
1. Myth - We speak African.
Fact - You'd be surprised to find out that we don't speak African. Sort of like they way you don't speak American, or Franceness. Here in Dakar, Senegal, we speak the governmental language (French), and occasionally a local tongue called Wolof.
2. Myth - We live in a mud hut.
Fact - While a few decades ago this might have been true for most missionaries, in today's rapidly developing world, we no longer need to live in mud huts. Our family has been blessed to live in an American style home constructed by a Senegalese man who lived in the States for about 17 years.
3. Myth - We live in the jungle and ride lions and elephants to school. Wildlife is just everywhere you look.
Fact - Dakar is one of the most populated areas in Senegal. The wildest that life gets here is a random here
of sheep, goats, or cows walking across the highway. Most wildlife is in captivity in the few zoos and wildlife reserves across the country. And the ride to school is nothing spectacular... Just an ordinary pick up truck or 26 year
4. Myth - We bring everything from America because there's nothing here.
Fact - While we do bring some of the comforts of the
States with us like Mom's favorite Yankee Candles,
or some fittings for some of Dad's rare tools, most of anything you could think of we can buy here at the
local supermarkets. In fact, within recent years, a Senegalese "Walmart" of sorts called Auchan
has opened up about two hours away from our
hometown... And it's huge! Auchan has several smaller outlets right around the corner from us and
elsewhere in Dakar as well.
5. Myth - We go everywhere bare foot.
Fact - While we do wear shoes when we leave the house, for the most part my sister and I go lots of places without shoes because it is more comfortable.
6. Myth - We eat with our hands.
Fact - As a family from a largely American culture living amongst the Senegalese, it depends upon what food
you're talking about. If it's finger food, we do eat with our hands. But with anything else, we use utensils,
unlike the natives who do use their right hand.
7. Myth - We don't have toilet paper.
Fact - We do use toilet paper. In any local supermarket you can buy a bag of, like, 30 rolls.
8. Myth - We don't have running water and we take bucket showers.
Fact - Most people in Dakar do have running water. It is only out in the more rural and remote areas that they take bucket showers. But even then, they usually almost always have at least one spigot on the compound, somewhere.
9. Myth - We don't have electricity.
Fact - As with water, most people here in the city have electricity.
10. Myth - Going back to the States is a relief.
Fact - For some missionaries, returning to their passport country or place of birth makes them feel at peace.
But for me, the flight is nerve racking and when I land
on the other side I stick out like a sore thumb. Sure,
there are some amazing people that I always
enjoy seeing. But such is life. If I could take all of
my favorite people, and bring them here, that
would feel like home.