I think we are very fortunate to be living where we are in Dakar. Sure, there’s been some house issues, but overall it is a very nice place. It’s close to other school faculty. It’s usually a quiet street. It’s close to school and less than a mile from the ocean. The sky is always blue. (The humidity is always high. It feels like I haven’t stopped sweating since I arrived). The Senegalese people are very friendly, even though I speak very little of their language. Everyone greets each other when they pass by-it’s very refreshing to watch. (There is a lot of evident poverty).
Next door there is a boy that is Simon’s age. His name is Abdulaye. He moved here from Virginia, a year and a half ago. He speaks French and English. His extended family is Senegalese and at least one of his parents are. He has a cousin his age who also lives in the city and comes to visit on a regular basis. The cousin’s name is Mohammed and he speaks French and Wolof, no English. The boys (sometimes Abdulaye and Simon, sometimes with the addition of Justin or Mohammed) go out and play in the street (actually a very safe thing to do) and play soccer or walk up and down the block exploring rocks or just hang out talking. Even if it’s 4 boys, (2 speak English, 3 speak French, 3 speak Wolof), they have a wonderful time playing together.
Sometimes the day guardians will join them. I’ve even seen young boys from the cardboard and metal huts join in. They don’t really have specific goal areas, but somehow they all know what the are playing for and how to ‘score’. Sometimes the young boys that live in the cardboard and metal shacks that are not that far away join in as well. Playing together, they are all just boys having fun.
We’ve always had many girl neighbors, but never a boy neighbor Simon’s age, so this a nice change that he is really enjoying.