mercredi 4 février 2009

Of power outages and playing cards

2 nights ago i experienced my first evening blackout. I was taking advantage of the convenient wireless in my room upstairs when all of a sudden my lights went out and my internet stopped working. I went downstairs to join Papi and Aiyou, who had been watching tv, and planted myself on the couch. As we sat with the light of a candle flickering on the now-blank tv screen, Papi and I got to talking--and chatted more in the hour and a half without power than we had the whole time i've been here. Its amazing what can happen when the TV is turned off! My family, as well as nearly every other family in Dakar, always has a TV on, or more likely, 2 TVs. And if i'm lucky, Papi will also be listening to some music on the computer--by now this cacophony seems quite normal to me. One of the things that surprised me the most about moving into the Cissé household was the amount of TV they watched. We sit with the TV on, we dance with the TV on, we eat with the TV on, and no one bothers to turn off the TV even when they pray! My first impression of Islam here was that it couldn't be that intense if you could pray with the TV on...

Back to the other night, the power returned after about an hour and a half of darkness (and relative silence). The TVs turned back on, and we had a dinner of soup--a nice change from rice and fish. Afterward, Papi asked if I had a deck of cards, and we sat around and played War, Spit, and Speed for a while. Now that I've written it down, this sounds even more cheesy than it sounded in my head, but the whole evening really was a great bonding experience. As far as 16 year-olds go, Papi is pretty cool, and I'm excited to keep getting to know him over the next few months. Right now I'm sitting in his room and listening to him sing along to (what he thinks are) the words of Chris Brown and Tupac, some of his favorite Americans that he found on my iPod. And I can only faintly hear the downstairs TV over his voice.

The downside of this lovely story is that the wireless in my house no longer works, so I have more limited internet access. Seeing as I've already been a little negligent with the blog, I don't know how that will affect things, but I'm just giving you a heads up. I hope you all enjoyed two great American holidays, the Super Bowl and Groundhog's Day, and are surviving the winter!

Ba beneen yoon!

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