My first ever attempt at a blog - photos to be added later when I buy a digital camera - but moving from the City of London to live and work in Dakar, Senegal seemed like a sufficiently momentous life-change to be worth recording (and my Mum, currently volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya, can get to see what I'm up to).
Arriving here Sunday night (3 December 2006) was completely unmoving; it was the 11th time I had been through an airport in 11 days, so felt pretty routine. Then we had a Regional Management Team meeting in a hotel for two days - again pretty routine. So Wednesday was in a sense my first day here, and some of the enormity of it hit at lunchtime when I ventured out of the office to try to find something to eat. Suddenly I was on my own in a hot, windy, sandy, African street, surrounded by people speaking Wolof and French (both equally incomprehensible to me at the moment!), and I realized that I am HERE. This is it. No flying back to my home in East London in a few days – this is home now. I still can’t articulate the emotions it brings up, as they are such a complex mixture, but fear and excitement are both in there somewhere.
On a more practical note, the house they have found for me is close to being ready, apparently (I will go and take a look tomorrow), and everyone is being friendly and welcoming. I’m not sure about the traditional ‘fish and rice bought from the street stall’ that I tried for lunch today – the ‘fish’ part seeming to me a mashed up mixture of fish bones and oily sauce (I’m sure I ate a couple of fish eyes in there, too), but I’m sure I’ll learn to love it in time.