Not so fishy fish anymore

Mermoz, Dakar, Senegal | Mardi 17 Septembre 2013

My situation isn’t so fishy anymore. Even though Ceeb u Jen (fish and rice) are just as common for the Senegalese, as rice and beans are for Brazilians, frozen pizza for the Bergs, and cake for the Petrie Furer, I have found other alternatives! Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my figure, they all involve eating bread. In the post photos you can see what Mama Ndiaye cooked for me today. I’ve got protein, carbs, and veggies (I know tomato is actually a fruit).

Mesmo o Ceeb u Jen (peixe e arroz) sendo tão amados pelos Senegaleses, como o arroz com feijão e churrasco é pelos Brasileiros, eu encontrei outras alternativas para o meu almoço e jantar. Felizmente para mim, e infelizmente para minha dieta, todas essas alternativas envolvem um baguete de pão. Nas fotos você pode ver o prato que Mama Ndiaye cozinhou para mim hoje. Eu tenho minhas proteinas, carboidratos, e vegetais (eu sei que o tomate é uma fruta).

Our school also serves meals everyday, and food at WARC (West African Research Center) is generally cheap, a plate costs $1,500 Francs ($3 American Dollars). However, we only have two options each day, and fish is always one of them. Fish balls, fried fish, baked fish, smoked fish, fish bowl, fish soup. Fish! So, what some of us end up doing some days – for lack of time, or appetite – is just getting some bananas, or more bread, and eating eat with Chocoleca – that is the local chocolaty, nutty, spread that they eat here every day. I miss that website at the University of Minnesota, where you could go and see where they were serving free food each day.

A nossa faculdade tambem serve refeições todos os dias, e a comida na WARC (Centro de Pesquisas do Oeste Africano) é das mais baratas aqui na região: um prato custa $1.500 Francos ($8 Reais). Mas, nós geralmente temos duas opões de prato feito, e uma delas sempre é peixe. Bola de peixe, peixe a bolonhesa, peixe grelhado, sopa de peixe, peixe fumado. Peixe! Então, o que a maioria de nós acaba fazendo alguns dias, por falta de tempo, ou por falta de vontade de comer la, é ir ao mercado e comprar bananas, e mais pão, para comer com Chocoleca – uma Nutella local à base de amendoim, eu acho. Uma banana  ou um baguete custam $100 Francos.

Speaking of meals. I haven’t entirely gotten used to the whole eating with your hands thing, and even though I absolutely love it, I often do it wrong. Specially because every day I find out about a different rule, and end up upsetting Mama Ndiaye, as well as Allah. The other day I had beans for dinner. That was one of my favorite plates so far, and since we eat on the floor, I would always take a piece of bread and scoop the food to eat. Before we finished eating, Fatimata (my host sister), told me I shouldn’t do that again. I shouldn’t leave my crumbs behind, because Allah doesn’t like that. Instead, I should always split my bread on top of the tray – where everyone eats from – so that there are no crumbs, and we eat all of our food. I just found that so interesting, that way there is absolutely no waste. On the picture you can see all my crumbs. I learned my lesson though.

Por falar em refeições. Eu ainda não me acostumei completamente a comer com as mãos, mesmo amando essa parte do dia, eu geralmente faço errado. Especialmente porque todo dia eu descubro alguma regra diferente, e acabo aborrecendo Mama Ndiaye, e Allah. Outro dia, nós tivemos feijão para o jantar, acompanhado de pão. Esse foi um dos meus pratos favoritos até hoje, e ja que comemos no chão, eu quebro o pão perto de mim, e as migalhas caem no nosso tapete (que seria como o forro de mesa, ja que é la que todo mundo coloca os espinhos de peixe). Antes de eu terminar o jantar, Fatimata, a minha irma Senegalesa, me disse para não fazer mais isso. Para não partir o pão no chão, e nao deixar migalhas para tras. E que eu deveria partir o pão em cima da bandeja de comida – de onde todo mundo come, porque assim não sobra nada, nenhuma migalha. Eu achei isso a maneira mais interessante de ver o desperdicio, não havia nenhum. Na foto você pode ver as migalhas que eu deixei naquele dia. Aprendi minha lição.

Earlier this week, I was taking a nap before dinner, when Fatimata, came down and woke me up. I quickly got up, and ran upstairs. We were having some yummy Ratatouille for dinner, a dish with pees, carrots, boiled eggs, with a side of bread, obviously. Allah also didn’t appreciate when I forgot I should only use my right hand, and ate with my left hand. I just used it to scoop some food with my bread. Still, Mama Ndiaye asked me what I was doing, and told me that Allah doesn’t like it because it’s neither clean nor proper. Or that is what I got from it, please correct me if I’m wrong.

No começo da semana, eu estava tirando uma siesta antes do jantar, quando Fatimata veio me acordar. Eu levantei rapidamente e corri la em cima para jantar. Nessa noite nos comemos um Ratatoille, com ervilhas, cenouras, e ovos cozidos, acompanhados de pão, claro. Allah tambem não gostou quando eu esqueci de usar minha mão direita, e comi com a esquerda. Eu usei a mão esquerda para pegar um pouco da comida com o meu pão. Foi ai que Mama Ndiaye me perguntou o que eu estava fazendo, e me disse que Allah não gosta quando você come assim, porque é sujo, não está certo. Ou pelo menos isso foi o que eu entendi do que ela me falou, me corrija se eu estiver errado.

The main water company that provides water for the city isn’t really providing water for the city right now. A pipe blew out, they can’t fix it, and we don’t really have water. It’s been five days. We’ll see.

A maior empresa que distribue agua para a cidade não esta distribuindo agua para a cidade agora. Um cano estorou, e pelo jeito o conserto vai demorar, e a cidade está meio que sem agua. Ja fazem cinco dias. Veremos.

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34 thoughts on “Not so fishy fish anymore

  1. Khai says:

    Well, based on my not-so-knowledgeable understanding of the religion [born to a Muslim parents but did not strictly follow the rules. lol] ;p, yeah, you are correct, you are required to eat using your right hand only. Reason being, your left hand is used for other ‘not so clean’ things. For example, here in Malaysia, people use the left hand to wipe the ass after the toilet break and so, it is not proper to eat using the left hand.

    But being a left handed person, if I am using fork or spoon, I will still use my left hand. Haha.

    And bout the bread crumbs, I never heard about that before. I mean, yeah God doesn’t like food to be wasted, but I think the main reason your sister said Allah doesn’t like it is maybe because they just don’t want the place where you are eating is messy. I don’t know. Just my guess. Haha.

    • Anonymous says:

      My teacher explained to me the whole crumb situation. He said that people don’t like leaving crumbs, because Allah might punish them, and you never know if you will be hungry tomorrow. Or something like that.
      About the hand, I get it, but I still wipe my butt with my right hand, haha but I use toilet paper. I’m not integrating fully into the culture. Lol

      • Khai says:

        Haha. Using your right hand to wipe the butt is a taboo here. But yeah, people don’t really know actually because nobody watches what you are doing in the bathroom anyway.😀 And it is rare to find bathroom with toilet papers. ;p Hehehe

        Oh, now I understand about the crumb situation because honestly, never heard bout it before. LOL.

      • Marcos C. says:

        I just never thought about that, it’s a funny taboo. But at the same time I understand it. I have been buying toilet paper and so have all of my friends.
        I ate bread today again and left no crumbs behind, they didn’t say anything about Allah being happy with me.

      • Khai says:

        I believe Allah is happy with u mate🙂 I am going to the state of Malacca today (a state in Malaysia with people speaking Portuguese ;)) bringing 2 Japanese guys hosted by me. Hehe

      • Marcos C. says:

        Exciting!😀
        I have heard about it before, how long are you staying there ? There is exciting, I wish I could go, or even travel around here, but we have so many classes.
        Are you on a break or what ?

      • Khai says:

        Nope not really. Just a short day trip from my house😉. And my classes are only on Monday to Thursday, so I am totally free on Friday. But in October gonna look out for a part time job.😉

        You should come during your break if you have free time. I will be so glad to meet you. You can also bring along your American sister😉

      • Marcos C. says:

        I miss having my fridays free, I don’t have classes on tuesdays but there is not much I can do with that, I just stay home and pretend I’m doing homework.
        I would love to go, but the problem is the money, tickets to the orient are so expensive, we would love to go though. I’ll always keep that in mind!
        I can only image all the sites we would visit!😀 thank you

      • Khai says:

        Just let me know if you are here one day🙂 And please approve my FB friend request to make it easier to communicate. Hahaaha

        Yeah, it is expensive to go to the American continent too for me. Hehe. Hopefully we can meet one day mate!

  2. Brittney C. says:

    I just saw a Senegalese person use the bathroom and I now know why they only eat with their right hand.

  3. Wish I was there to take in the sights. Love this so much! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sanjana says:

    Marco, too bad you don’t like fish! But it looks like you’re having a good time anyway. Although the water situation sounds pretty bad. How long will you have to be without water?!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Apaixonado ❤️❤️

  7. Monick says:

    Muito interessante essa parte do desperdício!
    e sobre a água, meu Deus..boa sorte! haha

  8. euranator says:

    Yo I dreamed about tomatoes last night. This is getting a little ridiculous. So glad you’re finding new ways to fill your appetite without fish!

  9. Good for me I love fish. I’m enjoying your write up and pictures. Kinda already knew about the right hand vs left hand rule, but since I too am right handed, it really does not make a lot of sense now does it… Thanks for your I sights.

    • Marcos C. says:

      Ha, I think I always knew about the hand rule too, but I always thought it was something optional, maybe cultural, but never religious.
      It doesn’t make all that sense for us right handeds.
      Thank you for stopping by😀

  10. MAMAE says:

    Fico triste en saber que voce tem que passar por tudo isso, mas sei tambem que é muito importante para voce. Por isso eu torço para que tudo dê certo para voce. Sei que nao é facil conviver com pessoas e cultura totalmente diferentes das nossas,mas sei que vc faz tudo isto pensando no seu futuro. Eu nao consegueria viver assim. Me orgulho de vc da sua coragem e a sua sede de aprender de conhecer coisas diferentes. Por isso meu filho conte comigo apoio vc em todas as sua andanças e se bobiar eu vou junto kkkkkkkkkkkkk.
    Amo voce mais que minha propria vida.
    bjs mame

    • Marcos C. says:

      Mamae, eu escolhi estar aqui, entao nao adianta ficar triste. Eu não estou sofrendo aqui, e tambem nem vim pra sofrer. Eu não gosto de todos os aspectos da cultura, mas o mesmo se passa quando eu to no Brasil, na França ou nos Estados Unidos. Obrigado de novo por me dar o mundo. Obrigado por tudo, e temos que viajar juntos, pra aproveitar ao maximo.
      Beijos, Te amo

  11. Katie Berg says:

    I love reading these… hope you aren’t missing the days of frozen pizza too much

  12. Flavia Retamal says:

    Meu deeeus, que aventura!! Adoreeei, boa sorte!!

  13. Ana Oliveira says:

    A impressão que tenho é a de que você “só faz bater perna na vida”, pessoa!!! ^^😀

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