Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows what I’m talking about on this blog. Sometimes I’m so much inside of my own head and use this blog to express ideas and feelings without providing any background. One of the best parts about the trip was the group we traveled with. Everyone got along, and there was no drama. Not really. The guys added balance and amusement and a sense of safety. Surely it would help you to know the guys from our trip better if pictures accompanied their descriptions. Plus, you’ll get to see boubous! If you took the quiz from Tuesday, see how well you scored. Unlike some exams over the five-week study abroad, this little quiz should have taken no more than five minutes.
c. LOVES SWIMMING; married but not obnoxious about it; enjoys giving boys backrubs; barfed for 5 hours starting at 2:30 one morning. He and his wife shared the sweet story about how they met and courted and got married. This guy is learning Arabic to add to his lingual repertoire of English and French. Very funny and mild-mannered, but will walk out of a class if it gets ridiculously long and pointless. This did happen, and I’m grateful to him for it.
e. Enjoys putting frogs in girls’ hotel rooms; also totally French kissed a dead fish; beat my boyfriend at arm wrestling. The first time Brayden really talked to me he was sitting next to me at the gate at JFK while we waited to board the plane to Dakar. He was observing a young man flirt with a young woman and said that she was way too pretty for him. He reminds me of my brother in all of the good ways.
a. Is the best male tribal dancer in the village (out of the Toubabs); tells GREAT stories; some people (one girl named Kylie) think he looks like Voldemort. He was sick the day the group photo above was taken. Also, I’ll let you imagine the resemblance to Voldemort. That seems more fun. Very soft-spoken, incredibly intelligent man. He loves puns. He presided over our church meetings and brought the spirit in a class on our last day together. I do have video footage of him dancing. I might post that one of these days.
b. Watched an IV spurting blood FROM HIS OWN ARM; acted as chaperone for the professors; hates papaya; read lots of books in English on the trip. Son of Daryl. If there’s a man-woman professor team on the study abroad, it’s policy for a spouse to come along. Neither spouse of M. Lee nor Mme Thompson could come, so Henry came instead. He’s 17. He got to miss his last month of his junior year. And probably one of the most upstanding youths I have ever met. He got to experience first-hand the Senegal hospital system. He won’t ever forget it.
h. Is a snazzy dresser with skinny jeans and a fanny pack; quite the Canasta player; known by some as “Ginger Balls”. Just so you know, that is not my name for him. I call him “Scandalous James” because he started dating a girl on the trip when one of the explicit rules is “no dating.” The official status didn’t emerge until the last week of the trip, but everyone watched it develop. James is smart and insightful and notices little things. He’s righteous and ever-helpful and likes to have fun.
d. LOVES AMERICA SO MUCH AND LETS EVERYONE KNOW; shaved his beard but left his mustache and sexy throat scruff one day. Miles has an opinion about everything, and I think that’s great. He loves Coke. He’s good company; he loves to talk and the way he associates things in his brain is fascinating. He’s a very patient and enduring man. I often wondered what Miles was thinking about lectures or meals or the plans of the day. He wanted to stage a friendly coup against staying at our interesting hotel in Saint-Louis our first morning there.
f. Dazzles women with his purple boubou; gave the beggar boys a lesson on the worth of work by hiring them to clean up Saint-Louis. Ryan is sort of a conundrum. Somewhat quiet, has an interesting sense of humor and a distinct laugh. He’s an athletic guy, and he doesn’t flaunt his intelligence. His wheels turn, and I’ve often wanted to get him to open up. But part of the conundrum was that his attractiveness intimidated me, and I didn’t talk to him as much as I wanted. Silly, I know.
g. Is a very reliable tenor; also asks questions to perpetuate an already 3-hour-long lecture because he’s sometimes too smart for his own good. Very persistent in several ways, one of which I definitely won’t mention here. Has a very spongy brain. Spencer is very easy to talk to and he talks to people easily. He made friends with a guy whom I considered his Senegalese twin. Skinny, alert, friendly, full of big ideas and hope for happiness. He was in my 321 class, and I’m glad I got to know him better on this trip.