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I don’t live in a grass hut.

This is inevitably what people imagine about how we live when I tell them we live in Africa. Here’s the thing: Dakar is a big, urban city. Tall concrete buildings, paved roads, traffic circles, highways, buses, taxis, road construction, air conditioned restaurants, grocery stores, ambulance and police sirens going off at all hours. Of course, there’s also the random herd of cows creating traffic jams on the highway, maybe 10 stop lights, no traffic laws (that are enforced, anyway), and guys weaving in and out of traffic jams selling cashews, Kleenex, and giant framed portraits of maribouts (religious leaders) window-to-window. Grass huts are pretty scarce within city limits. So I live on the seventh floor of an apartment complex made up of 9 yellow concrete buildings. We have running water. Western toilets. Semi-reliable electricity. A washing machine. And furniture from Ikea. It’s cozy and comfortable and colorful and I love

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