Saying hello Senegalese style whether to a friend or just a passer by:
“Ca va bien?” “bien, ca va?” “ca va bien merci, ca va?” “ca va bien merci” “na nga def?” “maa ngi fi rekk, na nga def?” “maa ngi fi rekk, ana waa ker ga?” “nu nga fa, ana waa ker ga?” “nu nga fa” “alhandulilaay!” “alhandulilaay!”
(in French) “How are you?” “I’m good and you?” “I’m good thank you, and you?” “I’m good thank you” (now in Wolof) “how are you?” “I’m good, how are you?” “I’m good, how are your family?” “they are well, how are your family?” “they are good” “thanks be to god!” “thanks be to god!” Continue reading →
Casa Farm is our first WWOOF stop. WWOOF is a world- wide organic farming organisation which you can volunteer with. Whilst organising our trip we were happy to discover a number on our route.
We arrived at Casa Farm precariously balanced on motor bikes (Jakartas) and were greeted by Malik, the smiling owner who got our sense of humour straight away and who is happily married to his drum. The farm is positioned in the middle of the bush close to the sea. It is ridiculously peaceful here if you do not count the tinny radio which is always blaring somewhere (although a night of Ja Rule was appreciated!) Continue reading →
Casamance’s tropical beauty belies its troubled history and is the reason that visitors are beginning to return.
Everyone has likened Casamance to paradise and when we arrived we could see why. Traveling from Dioloulou to Kafountine in a gutted caravan with plastic flowers hanging from the ceiling we saw the greenery roll out before us. Palm, mango and cashew trees interwoven with lush vegetation form a dense bush that stretches as far as the eye can see, concealing rivers and creeks within. Anything that grows near the road is turned from a vivid green to a rusty brown as dust settles in thick layers until it is washed away in the rainy season. Continue reading →
We have recently received the news that our good friend Monsieur Henry (the sheep we shared a roof terrace with in Dakar) has been slaughtered. Unfortunately we were not there to eat him so cannot report on his taste!
Although Henry never took to us, probably because we ate his friend the night we arrived, we always enjoyed his company. Not a day went by when his insane and incessant bleating failed to make us laugh. Continue reading →
We first became involved with Plan International UK whilst arranging our travels across Africa. We wanted to organise a trip in Togo to visit a child sponsored by Stephanie Kidby (Harry’s/My Mum). Through this we were able to develop a relationship with Plan that has allowed us to volunteer our experience in social media as well as visiting and promoting their projects across the continent on our website.
Plan is an international NGO that works with children to benefit them and their communities. After attending a supporters evening in London before we left we were impressed by the versatility and sustainable ethos of their work. Seeing, however, is believing and we are interested to discover for ourselves how Plan operates outside of the UK and if lasting results can really be achieved. Continue reading →
The Baobab Centre is a school of language and culture in Dakar where we have just spent the last two weeks learning French.
It has been an excellent start to our trip as understanding the language will be necessary to communicate properly with people! It has also given us the opportunity to stay with a family in urban Dakar which has been a really good way to settle into Senegalese life. Continue reading →
A custom we have been particularly happy to discover is the Senegalese love of tea.
Forget having a quick cuppa, tea here is all about the ritual. Loose tea is used instead of tea bags and there is not a drop of milk in sight. Rather than mugs it is served in small shot like glasses and comes in three delicious rounds:
1. Very strong and sweet
2. Weaker and much sweeter
3. (sometimes doesn’t make it) Really weak but very sweet
After our first weekend we moved into a family home in urban Dakar. We are staying here for two weeks while we learn French at a school nearby. The area is called Mermoz.
Our house is down a narrow alley of uneven paving stones and sand. The streets are like a dusty warren, simple concrete buildings made by hand tower above, blocking out the sky. New builds are erected daily whilst others stand forever unfinished despite being inhabited. Interspersing these streets are squares which are the hubs of communal life; fruit stands, small shops, women cooking on the corner, people gossiping and the ever present herd of sheep all watch the day go by. Continue reading →
Central Dakar is a place for making money. The city saw an influx of people in the 90′s following serious drought in the country side. The population has ballooned from a couple of hundred thousand to nearly 3 million in the last 20 years. The streets are teaming with people trying to make a living in all sorts of different ways.
We opened our bedroom door on the first morning to be greeted by blinding sunshine that jumped into our eyes from the white tile flooring of our rooftop. Sunglasses where in order – it was going to be a good day!
We set off to explore, getting into the centre of town meant a taxi or a bus. Of course it had to be public transport. Continue reading →