When picking up my loaf of Tapalapa bread for my peanut butter and jelly sandwhich from the little stand alone boutique, wrapped comfortably around my bread was an AIDS education comic. So, not only for 10 cents I’m getting my Tapalapa bread (which people from Dakar think is disgusting and say is only for “poor villagers”-its much more substantial than the other Senegalese baguette crap), but with the help of “Fatou”, I’m learning how to protect myself from STDs. What does this say about these comics primary usefulness? Was it ever read at one time? Or am I the first and only reader?
“The condoms protect you against the AIDS”
“I will never have AIDS. I am always in good health!”
“AIDS is a disease that kills, and a lot of people are about to die in your country due to it!”
“Emma, I don’t understand anything at all, my dear.” “Any person can get AIDs, it doesn’t matter if they are in good health.”
It is not uncommon for people selling sandwiches and bread on the street to wrap them up to-go in their children’s finished homework, old newspapers, and Spanish magazines. My friends and I sit enjoying our 3rd grade school lunches in the grass admiring the comics but I wonder, if instead there was a better, more efficient way to combat AIDS that may even target those people living here who don’t read French. French may be the “official national language” but its everyone’s 2nd language here. Besides Wolof, there are 23 native languages and a lot of people can speak more than one-or five. Why can’t some Americans even learn one?