No, Thank You, I’m allergic.

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Just found this little pearl of a personal note from the end of last year, when I was clearly experiencing a classic case of Africa-fatigue …a malady which manifests in my person every so often with symptoms of abundant and exasperated sarcasm.
17.10.2018 – Thiès – Day 3
Because you’ve heated up water on the stove which you’ve then poured into a 10L water jug as you drag it to the bathroom where the cold water drizzling out of the shower head makes a stream so pathetic that you can barely wash your body and you definitely can’t wash your hair in it…hence the 10L water jug.
Because you’re still disgusted by roaches, but by now you just grab your shoe and smash the bastards when and where you meet them in the kitchen. Walls, countertops or the floor : you name it, I’ll smash it. I usually keep one shoe handy close to the kitchen.
Then again, I impressed my Senegalese roommate once by smashing baby roaches with the soft underside of my fist. A shoe was not handy but my fist sure was.
Side note, if you paid me money I wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen because I know very well that darkness is when those beasties are on their biggest prowl.
OK, fair enough, it depends on how much money ;-)
Because everything is slow and inconvenient.
Because people don’t understand the concept of customer service. I’m sure the term doesn’t even exist in Wolof.
Because you try to be friendly with the locals and you’re taking so much time and effort to learn their local language (deprived though it may be of terms relating to customer service), and you’re still getting nowhere.
And when every dose of friendly is construed as flirting and turns into questions about your husband, you sigh.
Exasperated.
It is just so annoying.
I liked my reaction today when I refused the free, hot (and very random) milk they were giving out in the street. Milk?
Like, is this a new, NGO milk campaign???
I told them I was allergic.
I’m not allergic.
I used to be allergic, but I’m not anymore.
but the thing is that allergic is an excellent reminder of a high-quality excuse.
“hello, would you like some goat meat now.”
me: “No, thank you, I’m allergic”
Which is not true. I’m almost vegetarian. We haven’t had a free street campaign on that yet, so it takes a long time to explain what it is. The concept of not eating meat is about as foreign here as wall-to-wall carpeting. I say that I’m not actually a vegetarian, I’m more like a vegephile.
What’s a vegephile?
It means that I really love vegetables.
Almost more than I love my future husband.
Sarcasm generously dripping.
“hello, do you have a husband yet”… now I’m thinking I’ve found a new answer : “No, I’m allergic.”
I make a tight fist with my right hand and poke my left index finger into the fleshy side while admiring how firm and soft it is.

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