Location: Touba Mosque.
Founded by Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba. Muslims from all over pilgrimage here sometimes too. My language professor told us the following history. Bamba was in a French boat sailing from Europe to Africa, he looked at his watch saw that it was time to pray and began to lay out his mat. The French saw him and forbid him from praying on their Christian boat. So he said, no problem, took his mat and laid it out on the water and completed his prayers like that. Genius. sidenote: I couldn’t get over how cute these matching dad and two sons in boubous were.
Fun roadside activity: Count the number of people in this truck!
This country takes carpooling to another LEVEL. Even motorcycles and mopeds are rarely ridden alone. A bicyclist offered to give me a ride. And once when we were walking from one village to another we decided to hop into the back of a big van transporting lumber, but there were already 10 other people in the back so we figured it was ok to hop on too. So we got out of the heat and had a real Senegalese experience! I sat next to a blind man.
Location: Village of Mboumbaye
This is my mother of the village Fanta Gueye making Attaya tea. This is a social process that takes about an hour total. In this household it happened four times a day. Time goes by very slowly in the village. All the work happens in the morning and in the afternoon when it is hot everyone lays on mats, neighbors come over to visit, you drink tea, you nap. One evening just to pass the time I allowed my hair to be braided. It only hurt after the fourth hour. We took a prayer break, a tea break, and a lunch break though.
Location: The village school.
This is a Sabar dance that the villagers put on for us. So of course we had to participate even though it is impossible to imitate the wild leg lifts, jumps, stomps, and thrusts of the Senegalese who have done this since they were three. I highly advise a youtube peruse of Sabar dancing. My family dressed me up for this event in the most beautiful dress I had ever worn. I felt like I was getting married. But at the dance, my family forced my tunic part of the dress up over my bum and lifted my skirt to show the bright orange scandalous part underneath. Whereupon I was shoved into a butt shaking competition, which I lost. Africa will do crazy things to a person.
Location: Saint Louis
After the village we went to this very colonial beautiful island city. The first capital of Senegal and the capital of colonial West Africa. We learned history. I took the two sailors of the program and the kiwi and we studied this boat as our project. For those of you who know my summer boating history: you can force a girl off of a boat crew, but she will never leave the boats forever. The boat is currently looking for a captain. I’m working on a resume.
And that brings us up to this week which I have not yet synthesized. I am already realizing how little time I have here. We have one more week of classes before we go to another village Kedougou in the hot hot South East of the country. Then we have another week of classes then we are free birds, well we have a month and a few days to write an enormous paper on an enormous project but that will work itself out. I have some clever ideas up my sleeve!