Today I had my first day of work at the International School of Dakar. This first week is orientation for new staff members and focuses on helping teachers to acclimate to the new culture, country, and school. The elementary principal is running the new staff orientation and doing a bang-up job. Just about the time in July that I started to worry about how I was going to get from the airport to the house and all those kind of details, I received from him a great orientation schedule starting with our arrival in Dakar through the first day of school. Included in those weeks are many social dinners out with staff, bus tours of the city, trips to different shopping venues to acquire household or grocery items with one of the staff members who has been here previously. It’s been great so far and I anticipate that it will continue to go that way.
One of my kids is having a hard time adjusting to the non-snacking culture and to not being able to pick what he wants to eat. Especially since we are in a bed and breakfast still, there isn’t the access to food between meals like we are used to. The meals are also decided for us by others. It’s a good thing to have to get used to, but not necessarily easy for the typical American kid.
We had a big breakfast before heading to work, as well as being offered pastries, coffee, and juices at school. The lunch was from a Lebanese restaurant and there was humus and pita as well as a choice of a chicken or vegetable wrap. I found the chicken one to be delicious and more than I needed. I was really amused by the thin layer of French fries that was part of the sandwich. My child, not so much. He also chose to eat bread (a ton of it) at the dinner last night instead of his seafood that he ordered and termed “gross”. It wasn’t gross as much as just a stronger flavored seafood than we are used to.
Take all things and we are verging on a melt-down. Dinner is served at eight p.m. Wish me luck getting to that time without a full-fledged meltdown. We could walk and get a gelato or fruit from a stand, but it is so flipping out there and I am currently not sweating that I am not inclined to mention either option.
Today’s first day included a fun ‘get to know you’ activity with new staff members, a tour of the school and an information session entitled “hassles, health & safety” in Dakar that was really helpful. We had the lovely Lebanese lunch together with plenty of time to chat with our new colleagues and compare notes on backgrounds, previous schools, etc. It’s a great group of people who I am very excited to be working with in the upcoming years.
PS-I did break down and go ask for some peanuts (popular local snack food) and a yogurt of the kid.