Ramadan Reflection 1

So I’ve accidentally re located to Senegal and somehow found myself starting a charity promoting skills toward economic independence!

Please follow, share and if you can donate, message me.

We need cash for notebooks, pencils and computers for each pop up library.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2831390337115833/?ref=share

So, here’s what I learnt about how to behave in this beautiful country which is 95 % Muslim.

1 nothing above knee if you’re doing serious tings with locals

2 no tits out unless around ex Pat’s and definitely not in Ramadan.

3 business meetings with local men: traditional dress with matching head scarf. No make up. Smile alot. Speak in bullet points, softly but directly and super confidently. Act attentive.

4 with locals to win favour talk about your knowledge of the country or ask questions about culture so they feel they have the upper hand

5 acknowledge you are a foreigner, a TOUBAB as they call it.

6 in taxis. Pretend to walk away if they want more money. More often than not, they will agree to your price unless it’s ridiculous.

7 make peace not war even when you’re pissed. This is a peace loving people.

8 pay compliments incessantly. Tell men you like their outfits, tell women they’re pretty, tell the taximan something nice about his taxi. Oil relationships.

9 remember that they have something special, that’s why you chose to live there. Walk with gratitude

10 Take time to build trust. Earn trust. Our Western culture is diametrically opposed.

11 Ask questions, dont make assumptions. Come as a learner not a teacher

12 Remember there is no such thing as the individual her so cut that out! Self centred thinking will take you no where fast.

13 Accept stuff will take much longer than you thought

14 Train yourself to see that the Western way is inferior. Decolonise your mind

15 Intentionally link with and practise anything traditional- tea, food, prayer.

16 Tell people about what your life was like back home to dispel the myth that the streets are paved with gold in the West

17 Practise Terranga which means deep rooted community spirit even if locals dont.

18 Dont get bent out of shape if you pay a little more than you should. People are poor here.

19 Pretend you’re a toddler and imitate local behaviour

20 dont live in an expat bubble. Get used to being THE ONLY ONE. Aggressively persue Senegalese friends

Health care in the ‘Third World’

After suffering for over 4 years with menopausal issues with the help of the NHS in the UK…I thought I would try ‘private’ in Senegal.

Botched appointments, waiting times of over 2 hours, refusals to scan even when picked up by ambulance, losing my notes before an operation to ascertain if I have cancer….4 fucking years of pain and uncertainty and more than that…absolutely no concern for my well being.

Somehow, lefties like me just don’t do private on principle in the UK. So the decision to seek ‘private’ in Senegal, albeit the only option here, still felt weird.

Well I went yday and within 45 minutes of an appointment with a beautiful, intelligent Black Woman -Senegalese-Gynae: the problem was pin pointed, evidenced with a scan, strategised and medicated…

4 years

The relief is indescribable. And to the tune of just under 60 English pounds.

And this is every day life in Dakar

Micro aggressions in the workplace Part II

This is some of my friends responses, reading about my problems at work. Reading their reactions helped me see that I am normal. That its these ignorant people that have the problem.

I started to doubt myself after remote fighting with my bosses all week via email and phone call and wondered if I have the problem. If I’m just overreacting. If I’m just another crazy, paranoid black person with a chip on my shoulder. Coz I’m the minority and I dare not mention that.

All in 24 hours. When my boss told me my tone was threatening, when my bosses boss told me I misread the tone of the initial email, when I was blamed by my boss that 3 parents complained about me in the space of 20 minutes without hearing my side, when the Head Teacher emailed me some comment about not being bothered about my physical health that I had told her about coz she gave me the impression that she cared, when my boss incorrectly told her boss that I had not created any resources for my students coz she didn’t look for them, when my bosses boss insisted having an 8am meeting with me knowing I’m I’ll…I wonder who is UNPROFESSIONAL.

FRIEND 1

I can write a book–a series of books–on white microaggressions in the workplace. It’s fatiguing.
It really batters you psychologically

FRIEND 2

Sad but true and you are not the only one dealing with this scenario (as you know). The difference is you have made a choice to get out of the system. Not everyone has that confidence, inner strength or means to make the necessary change. Also, I feel that there is this kind of micro aggression and unconscious-bias wherever you go. People will always feel threatened by others whether it’s the way you speak, your privilege etc. I had it in Jamaica!! But it’s about doing something about ones situation and that would always be my advice 👍🏽

FRIEND 3

Yep, honey. We know exactly what you are talking about.

FRIEND 4

Right don’t give the bosses reason to let you go also. Leave on your own terms

FRIEND 5

It’s very frustrating and I see this a lot. Even where I work now. Not believing a black managers point over the white support staff.
You handled it very well though your response was very well executed
I was talking to a teacher friend (Nigerian lady)She is so fed up with the blatant racism in the school. A real problem and demotivating but you have to know how to deal with it and play them at their own game, and I think you handled it well 👏🏽
I normally tell them they are being aggressive to me and I feel they are confrontational before they get a chance to say it back. I hope it goes well tonight though like you said. All positive to keep them quiet 🤐
I think you have to stay true to yourself. Your good at your job and perhaps part of the reasons they are having such problems with students and results is because of reasons like this.
The good thing is that when your ready to teach in Africa they will love you there.
My friend owns a school in Abuja. She would love to have you. If you did plan to leave in Senegal. Luckily you have options

FRIEND 6

Yes, this can and does happen in the school world. For me, it has not necessarily been linked to white women but have experienced it, esp from young, white intimidated woman but supported by a black man!!

FRIEND 7

Interesting read. It’s definitely a white and class thing. My white woman boss from my past school was very judgemental till she saw that I was good at the job and professional. After that, she had my back.

FRIEND 8

This person has clearly stated that you are not doing your job properly as there seems to be a problem with your standard of work and your not carrying out the the basic register checks.
it would of been more professional that she had come and discuss the problem before jumping to conclusions, also that she would rather listen to others more than to come to you directly…it sounds as if she wants to belittle you to show her power…but always remember that the belittling words from this person is the only power they have over you, don’t let this dampen your self esteem your bigger than this trivial competition.
Love the way you responded by showing that you aware of your your surroundings and is capable of carrying out your role and your quiet confident when doing so..

I’m done with educated, white people ignorance…

Dealing with white woman ignorance in the workplace. Microaggression. Unconscious Bias.

The ignorant boss woman emails me and copies in my ignorant white woman boss.

Hi Hannah, 
I have just had an email from Mrs X as she is concerned that he is getting a mark for non-attendance to lesson but he was there, which I have confirmed with some of my key worker students who are with me in school and he was there the whole time.  
Can I ask that the register gets checked carefully, so we don’t end up having awkward conversations with parents.  
If you need any support with please let me know.  

I respond and copy in their white man boss.

Bobby, I feel it important that you are aware of this email interaction.Thanks for this.  I am very careful with registers.  Also, I have not heard a word from X since the start of term via mic or typing.  The other students attested that he has not been present, because I always check.He joined todays lesson for the first time since January in the last 5 mins which I am sure you agree is not acceptable.  Perhaps you could support him in how to be interactive and proactive in lessons so he isn’t marked as absent.Please find out both sides of the story before making assumptions.

I then email my boss her boss and the Head

Also, I was very upset about the email from head yr 8.  X and Y have seen it. We’re all under pressure but that’s unwarranted and we need to support one another as teachers.  I believe in this very strongly.
Please could this be resolved in whatever way you deem necessary as it weighs on me that adult discussions are not had first before judging situations particularly with a child who I know has complex issues. I taught him in person last year and he made his mark let’s say.
Sorry to moan but I like everything out in open.ThanksHannah 

I deal with this kinda bullshit day in and day out for what feels like millennia and guess what ? Its always white women bosses who assume shit about me. It’s so tired and boring beyond belief. Their prejudice defies logic and professionalism.

That’s why Europe is not for me. Would rather not have electricity than deal with this draining nonsense.

I also make sure I’m so on it with quality, paperwork or whatever hoop that they just have to keep me til I’m ready to exit.

The last time my white female boss treated me like an idiot and sacked me, I whistleblew and she had to endure months of investigation of unprofessionalism and bullying in the work place.

Put them in their place but look after YOU. Coz we know we’re better.