sexta-feira, 27 de abril de 2007

Relato de Carina Watney (en inglés)

I would look back fondly on my sheltered childhood memories of Africa with nostalgic reverie, and ten years later, the time had come to return. The sex-crazed drunken beach holidays that plagued my teens was now anathema. This year, I had a tripartite mission: research, internship, and holiday. But I knew that this time if I wanted to learn something I would have to open my mind a bit and heed Achebe’s caveat that “travellers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves” however difficult it would be to shake off the egocentric hubris that hung like a fardeau around my neck and had conditioned by whole education.

My colleague, Karina, an attractive brunette from Canada, and fluent in four languages, met my arrival in Dakar and drove me to meet my host family. My host family lived in the well-to-do residential area of Mermoz. The kitchen was a tiny, primitive mess with two stoves and plastic plates and jugs placed awkwardly on the floor. The broken sink was over-spilling with plastic bottles, which were to be filled with purified tap water, having not been given the choice to opt for mineral water. The bathroom was a nightmare, the only thing that works being the door, and occasionally the shower head that dripped pathetically. I could fathom how they could possibly live in such conditions. In spite of this, I make an effort to get along with the family, and broke the ice by giving them some gifts that I had bought in England, and watched TV with the youngest family member, Xena, whose French was very well-articulated. My first meal was a shock, for not only did I have to wait until past 10pm, and the food horrible, but we ate on the floor out of a common pot. It felt very uncivilised, and even more so as the girls preferred to eat with their hands. Afterwards, they peeled small yellow mangoes ...

(click to read the complete report)

Photo: Women in New York
Courtesy of Beatrice Velarde (

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