I’m sitting at a colorful table and bench in the shade of some beautiful trees that I have not yet identified. I need to find an app where I can take a picture of the tree and it can tell me what it is. There is a group of fifth grade girls playing a game with a basketball on the shaded pathway, another sitting on a bench reading a book from the Warriors series. There is a group of third grade girls playing jump rope. The boys have mostly run off to play soccer on the field. The bell ( a REAL old-fashioned bell with a handle!) was just rung to signal it’s time to go back to class. I just noticed that there are two cats sleeping under my table in the shade. They are grey striped tabby cats that are what I would consider “mostly” feral. They roam the campus and neighborhoods, eat from trash cans or food scraps they find, but don’t run away when kids get near. Now no kid is going to try to pick them up because 1-the cat wouldn’t let them, and 2-the kids have all been told not to try to pet them. There is talk that having a vet come to the school and neutering half of them would at least keep the population from growing. Some people enjoy the cats (I do) but there are a few that would like to find a way to prevent them from entering the campus (impossible). The PreK students have all gone home for the day and the afternoon classes have begun. It is very peaceful.
A breeze, some birds chirping, some drivers and day guards chatting in Wolof by the fence-palm trees and the ocean in the distance. I’m very content.
We brought our bathing suits with us, so after school we will go swimming at the school pool with other faculty and their families. Since we are not in the states, there’s a good possibility that I might enjoy an adult cold beverage while the kids splurge on a can of Fanta.
Tomorrow one of the teacher’s aides who has lived in Senegal for a decade, is leading a school group to a giant outdoor fabric market in Dakar. My goal is to find fabric for my home windows! Another perk of this job is, that with advanced arrangements, we can schedule a school bus, (more like a cross between a mini-bus and an extended van), complete with one of the school’s drivers to navigate the traffic. I am very appreciative that I don’t have to drive or park (the biggest challenge for me). Parking is not like the States at all. It is kind of a free-for-all. People park partway on the curb. People double-park (and sometimes double-park their horse & cart).
The guide/teacher’s aide suggests wearing pants and tennis shoes. There is no way I can wear pants at this point. I tried to wear capris and a short-sleeved shirt yesterday to work, and had to change into the sleeveless dress I also brought with me within an hour. It makes me realize why so many women in very hot areas of the world wear long, flowy dresses. It keeps the heat from being trapped next to your body. I’m also ixnaying the tennis shoes for the same reason. Tennis shoes equals socks which equals extra heat. I will be wise and wear sandals that strap on and have closed toes.
It’s no surprise that Labor Day is not celebrated here so it’s not a long weekend. That’s okay. We’ve gotten our first full week under our belt and I’m looking forward to what is to come in September.
Next week we see our high school students off on an Upper School Retreat to Sobo Bade. The 11th and 12th graders leave Wednesday morning, the 9th and 10th graders leave Thursday morning. They overlap Thursday- then the 11th/12th graders head back Thursday night and the 9th/10th stay. It is full of team-building activities and takes place about an hour south of Dakar at what some call an artist’s retreat.