Friday, June 25, 2010

Day Three

Have I only been here for three full days? Geez.

I survived my first international flight! 

Na nga def. Hello. Or; since I'm writing to all of you, Na ngeen def! While I'm here I've decided to focus on learning Wolof instead of French. It just feels like since we are studying the effects of globalization and the effects of post-colonialism on education that I should be focusing on learning the language of the people. Ya dig? I'm picking French up fairly quickly anyway.

Being in a major port city in Africa means that we definitely have to learn about Dakar's role in the slave trade. Yesterday found us at UCAD (Universite Chiekh Anta Diop) hearing a lecture from Dr. Ibrahima Seck on Goree Island (a 20 minute ferry ride from Dakar) and its involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. By the way, if you don't know what Goree Island is all about, check yesterday's post for a link! Dr. Seck talked about how Africans deny their role in slavery and how he believes that colonialism was worse than slavery. Something he said that stuck with me was: "Slavery was comfortable for the people who profited from it, no matter what color." When I look around Dakar, one of the most developed cities in Africa, the consequences of colonialism are everywhere:
From Dakar 2010
nbsp;I can definitely see where Dr. Seck is coming from when he says that colonization was a new form of slavery.

We also discussed the slave house on Goree Island. Dr. Seck wanted to ask us to think about the context of the slave house and how the island presents it. The house is actually a replica of a slave house, but it is presented as the real thing. The tour is meant to be very emotional, and why shouldn't it be? He also showed us the infamous "Door of No Return":
From Dakar 2010
From Dakar 2010
He said, and I quote, "This is where they said 'bye, bye' to Africa." It actually wasn't. The place where the slaves were shipped off was probably where we came in on the ferry. Scary.

The lecture and visit has made me think about the way I teach about slavery in my classroom. This was the purpose of the trip, right? I'm not quite sure what I am going to do with this information. It is going to take me a while to process all of it. I will say that I am going to do things a lot differently next school year.

Ask me about the hustlers on the island sometime... I met Cindy Crawford and she wanted me to buy a one of a kind African necklace from her. Strange that I saw that same necklace on 50 other hustlers. Sorry haters, but I'm buying from the artisans. :) I'm wearing my mean teacher face and saying "May ma jaam!" Get away from me.

I just took my first taxi and it was an adventure. We overpaid because we are toubabs, but I'm learning. I could write a lot more but I'm currently on information overload with a mad case of heat rash, so I'm outta here.

I miss Nate and the dogs, but I know that they are busy and well taken care of. I'm not worried.
Ba beneen, or goodbye from the cyber cafe where I hear cocks a-crowing and goats a-bleating ( is this right? Do they bleat?)...

Love,
Jen

2 comments:

Joseph said...

It's good to hear that Cindy Crawford is still working.

Yes, goats do bleat. They have deeper voices, but the sound is considered to be the same.

Goats kick ass! Bring one home!

Anonymous said...

Don't bring a goat home for him. Please.

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