The long overdue first post about Dakar

As required in any good development-y blog, my attempt at a humerous take my Western impressions of the country that’s currently hosting me. So here it is as a table comparing life in Dakar, Senegal (where I’m living this summer) and Niamey, Niger (where I lived for most of 2010):

Pretty much the same

For better or worse…

Carrying around a few sheets of TP usually pays off. My office laptop has a working battery, meaning it doesn’t shut off immediately every time the power goes out.
Lots of non-Senegalese Africans identify more with me than with the locals – and not just the NGO workers Way more people speak way better French – meaning the limits of my French are laid bare in far more situations
Making real Senegalese / Nigerien tea still takes its sweet time. And when it hits your lips, it still tastes sooo good. Nobody in the office makes tea! I am forced to get my caffeine kick at work from Nescafe.
Senegalese (and Nigeriens) tend to assume that the more dirty and disheveled a white person looks, the longer they’ve been here. (And sometimes they’re right.) There is NO street food. True, there are plenty of quick, cheap restaurants. Still, I gotta admit Dakar, I’m a little disappointed.
Same rules apply when passing other Westerners on the street – either the Awkward Nod Hello or the Stare-Ahead-Don’t-Acknowledge People still blast loud music, except it’s 1) Rihanna & Justin DeRulo (not Fati Niger and P Square) and 2) it’s right outside the office
People zealously guard their exact spot on public transportation – even when they’re crushing you against the wall, and the rest of the bench is empty I saw a line outside the bank the other day. A real LINE! I haven’t experienced this in other situations here in Dakar, but still – for a Westerner in West Africa, even once is a noteworthy occurance

 

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About developingnathan
I am a reflective person. I am an introvert, a friend, a brother and a son. I appreciate a well-crafted glass of beer, piece of music and turn of phrase. I am a professional of international development, a good pianist and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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