Saturday night I come home from a long day of questionnaire giving eat a huge Senegaelse meal in Mamadou and Fatou's apartment. Mamadou is my landlord, hilarious, speaks pretty great English and used to play professional soccer in the US for a few MLS teams. Here is his wikipedia. Fatou is an amazing woman and great cook. She teaches me how to make Senegalese cuisine and makes fun of my daily goings on. Here's our apartment building on the left.
Anyway, so I get back from this huge, amazing dinner at like 10 and I fall asleep. I wake up at like 2 AM and just start clicking through the internet and see that the New York Mets, mah fave team, are locked in a 14 inning battle with the St. Louis Cardinals (my Grandpa Kirk's favorite team). This looks like an awesome thing to watch, but being as I'm in Senegal its impossible, right? NO! In fact, I called the family at home on skype and they set up the camera so I was looking straight at the screen, marvelous. I got to watch the last 5 innings live on TV in what ended up being a great 20 inning game. Metsblog always has a good recap and here is the espn video.
The real major thing that happened this weekend was the excellent questionnaire giving that went down all Saturday afternoon into the evening in a community near mine in Yoff. I had (left to right) Fatou, Fatou, Monsieur Dieng, and Coumba to start. Coumba got married in the middle. I swear. I don't truly understand what happened but she got a call while she was doing questionnaires and then she left because she got engaged to be married. Felicitaciones Coumba!
After she left she was replaced by the wonderful Binta who works so hard and is just a great lady and an amazing friend.
We did 40 questionnaires each taking between 10 and 20 minutes. A huge accomplishment. M. Dieng knew the migrant households in the community and was such and pro. He walked us around and dropped us off one by one and people welcomed us in and answered our questions.
Even I got in on some of the action. (My French to Serer translator sitting next to me)
I will publish the statistics from the surveys once I have them finished but my observations of the day were: I love all of the action in the streets of Senegal. Kids, adults, everyone greets me with a smile. My team was incredible on Saturday. Everyone we dealt with was really nice, warm, and welcoming all day. No one said "get out!" or "never come back!" It was all smiles and good ol fashioned Senegalese teranga. We are all in this together, you know? These women may not know much or anything about the science we in the West take for granted, but they have a lot to teach us about how you treat people and what kindness and dignity really are. Here, they may not have much money, but people actually work together and help one another. Something that is rare in the US. True solidarity.