T.I.A means “This Is Africa”, it’s from some movie I think, but it has been a very useful phrase so far. Before I got to Dakar I had convinced myself that it was a cosmopolitan city, and would not be very foreign to me, I was wrong. Here are some of my favorite T.I.A’s so far.

Taxi’s don’t have a meter, you have to bargain the price wherever you are going. T.I.A.

The buses aren’t exactly buses, they are old school buses that have been cleared out. A man hangs on the back and yells which way the bus is going, you give him money and then you bang on the bus ceiling when you want the bus to stop. T.I.A.

Toilet paper doesn’t exist. T.I.A.

Class is interrupted frequently because the electricity goes out at least twice a day. T.I.A.

When crossing the street you have to watch out for cows. T.I.A.

Roads do not have names and the ones that do are unpronounceable. T.I.A.

When eating, you sit on the floor with your host family around a big bowl and grab what you want with your hands. T.I.A.

Nightlife doesn’t get going here until at the earliest 2am. T.I.A.

Sometimes you can’t go to sleep because your host mom has mosquito bombed your room, and if you breathe that in, it may be worse than malaria. T.I.A.

I’m still not sure how many people live in my host family because people come, eat, sleep and leave very often. T.I.A.

No AC, no hot water, no English. T.I.A.

Not sure what I’m eating or how to pronounce it, but it’s delicious. T.I.A.

You might can get Wifi for an hour or so a day if your lucky(I’ve been trying to post this for some time now). T.I.A.

Overall I have been pleasantly surprised by how strange Dakar is to me, and I look forward to being confused even more by the city’s ins and outs. My next post will be more substantial I hope.

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