By Jacob Osias
Today was my first full day in Senegal. We woke up at about 9:30 and drive to Mr. Alter’s friend, Bandia’s house. His wonderful wives and family took amazing care of us with, I swear to God, the best food ever. We had Senegal’s national dish, Thieboudjenne. A dish of stewed fish, vegetables, and rice seasoned with many spices. After some tea, which we drank from the same cup, and the wonderful food, our language barriers began to crumble as Zach, Connor and I went and played soccer with some kids there. Like any normal soccer game, it turned into Kobe wrestling Alter’s friend, Bandia, in a friendly match. After a long suspenseful match and two sweaty men later, Kobe won his first traditional Senegalese wrestling match.
All of this made me think that hospitality is very important in Senegal. In America it’s unusual for your neighbors and family to hang out in your front yard all day, but here, it’s the norm. Like Kobe said, it felt like the 4th of July. Being in that environment just felt right. In the moments that made up today I wasn’t thinking about the cultural differences, but how good the food was, how many smiles there were, and the cute ass babies. It didn’t hit me until we were riding back to the lodge how different our cultures are. What I appreciated the most about the people we met today was their kindness, and that they truly wanted to welcome us to their home and to their country.
P.S. Mom, sorry for not calling, the service is bad here. I decided I’m going to stay here! Bye!