The Quiet American in Senegal

I kept a journal when I was there. Then I threw it away when I got back, embarassed at my immaturity and constant whinging (“Boiled fish again! Oh nooo!”). But in 1989, I would have never imagined the idea of blogging from there.

But Gretchen Eisenhut does. She’s a Peace Corps volunteer working in the north of Senegal (I was in the south) and frequently updates her blog, The Quiet American from an internet café. Internet use is, apparently, comparatively big in Senegal when measured against other countries in Africa.

Whenever I think of the Peace Corps, I always think of the conversation I had in a little bar in Oussouye with the owner who claimed to me, “Peace Corps equale … C.I.A.!!! C’est vrai!” I thought he was joking but apparently it’s not entirely unheard of.

That aside, it’s interesting to read her experiences, to see how they compare to mine, and to see what has changed in Senegal, and what hasn’t. It makes me wish I still had my journals (not really – they were awful).


2 thoughts on “The Quiet American in Senegal

  1. I’d like to have seen your journals.

    Even if they were what you call immature and awful, they were your impression of how things were and would probably be an interesting read.

    Well, so long as you wrote about more than just the boiled fish!

  2. No, you really don’t. They weren’t really written with an audience in mind and often rambled to the point of being incoherent. I think if I read them now, a lot of it wouldn’t even have made sense.–>

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