For a while now I've thought of this place as 'not Africa'. This place is easier to define by what it isn't rather than by what it is. It's not Europe, it's not Africa, it's not clean, it's not fun, there's no art, there are no parks, etc. When I say it's 'not Africa', I basically intend to say that it's better than most of Africa. There is pretty good infrastructure, some people have money to spend, and corruption isn't as bad as in other countries. Or, for example, Mauritania is just to our south and boasts a population who are 90% not-slaves.
I realized that I'm pretty much used to how crappy everything is. Sure there's trash everywhere, but I'm only really bothered when I see piles of burning plastic. Most people goggle at me but I've gotten pretty good at not looking at anybody when I walk around. Cleanliness isn't good, but I've long been resigned to the fact that I'm gonna be sick all the time. And I've gotten used to dressing and looking like crap.
So, simple existence here isn't quite as much of an adventure as it once was. Of course, there are still moments when I cringe or I think, 'ha, holy shit that's crazy'. Like today when I was about a block from my youth center and saw a dead dog seeping onto a piece of cardboard next to some vendors going about their business.