Waxtaan: Chanting in Wolof

The Wolof like to sit around, visit others and chat which is great for someone trying to learn the language.  My chatting vocabulary is still very limited and a friend asked me the other day what exactly we talk about.  Well, life here in rural West Africa revolves around family and the farm and/or garden so that is what we talk about.  I have learned a lot about Peanuts and Millett their two main crops and have even had the chance to visit some of the ladies gardens full of onions, some lettuce,cabbage and mint.  We chat about food and the animals on their compound which are usually part of their food source.  We discuss families and I still have great difficulty with their family structure.  Wives do not take their husbands last names, most husbands have 2-4 wives on the same compound and the children kind of belong to everyone.  This weekend I had two very different and very interesting visits at my home.  One was a young girl and her new baby as well as her friend.  They came to charge their phones on my solar power system and we visited while the devices were charging.  Now, there is no way I can maintain a conversation in Wolof for several hours as their devices charged; so they got bored and left for a while to visit another teammate leaving me with the two week old baby (I was glad he remained sound asleep on my couch)!  The following day the girls that have helped me bake several times came to my home and we all cleaned the house together (my kind of visitors).  It was on my agenda to clean that day as my house helper had been off and I figured why not get some help.  They had fun with all the Tubaab cleaning stuff and fought over the Tubaab mop but did a really good job and I paid them a little as well as sent them home with cake and cold water.  This is my life; who knows what we will Waxtaan about today……..  

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