Monday, January 18, 2010

The Way Things Work: Dakar Version

I have a boatload of things to say about logistics here and I decided the best way to share them all would be a post on “The Way Things Work”, thus inaugurating TWTW on this blog. Look out for future postings on how to not die, or rather, have very bad stomach cramps.

TWTW Series~
1. La poubelle
2. Car rapide et taxis
3. L’eau
4. Le temps
5. Cuisine
And more to come…

TWTW1: La Poubelle

To start, I must say that la poubelle, or trash, works very differently here than it does in the United States. In short, there is less of it in the house and more of it on the street.

There is very little waste in the homes here because families (generalizing from my own) here do a good job of not wasting anything. There’s also very little packaging used and very little packaged good bought. Lots of what we eat is fruit and vegetables. Almost every container that is bought is reused in some manner. There’s a small garbage can outside the house, but the trash truck doesn’t come often. Inside the house there is sometimes a small plastic bag for garbage, which is rarely filled in one day.

Not finishing the food on your plate is really not understood. I’m having trouble because I don’t eat the fish heads. My host-mom told me to not take the fish heads anymore if I’m not going to suck out the brains (not verbatim). And no, I refuse to believe eating brains makes you smarter.

Walking to school I have the complete opposite experience. Trash is everywhere. Perhaps the wrappings on candy, etc. never make it back to the house? I’m not sure why this is accepted while any waste within the house is looked down upon. I wonder if this flys because people spend more time inside where it’s cooler because it’s so hot here.

I did get to see a trash truck yesterday. Highlight of my week.

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