W: Maangiy ñibbi!
F: Je rentre!
E: I’m going home!
Today is my 2nd-to-last day in Senegal. Tomorrow night my plane leaves for Paris, where I’ll be spending two days before I come back to the States. To conclude this 5 month blog of my time in Senegal, I want to share some of my favorite moments that may have not made it onto the blog yet.
Like the time Mahima and I, with nothing to do in Saint Louis, decided to try to walk all the way to Mauritania, the country just north of Senegal where they just abolished slavery these past few years. Its possible to walk there, since Saint Louis is right on the border, but we ended up walking for an hour in the wrong direction…
Or any time Mami, Michou and I played cards with the old deck I’m borrowing from my Grandma’s house, even though the deck is missing a 4. I’ve learned at least 4 new card games here, and shared a few of my own with them as well. Unfortunately, cribbage was just too complicated to explain in French.
Or 2 weeks ago when I tagged along with the Islam and Religion class to visit the MASSIVE new mosque under construction in Dakar. It allegedly has the biggest dome of any mosque in the world and will be complete with an Islamic institute and a residence for guests. We drank café touba, a sweet special kind of coffe, with the guys running the project and we all wore hardhats while walking through the concrete shell that someday will be a beautiful place of worship.
Ok, time to get ready for my re-entry orientation. I will post one more Word Of The Day and some pics of Paris when I get back to the states, but other than that this is my last post on this blog. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to get across the pond, thanks to everyone in Senegal who made this semester the experience of a lifetime, and thanks to all of you readers for following along with me! If anyone reading wants advice on coming to Senegal, or travelling abroad in general, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can!
Thanks again, Merci, Jerejef!
W: Foy dem?
F: Où vas-tu?
E: Where are you going?
A favorite phrase of the guys who hang of the backs of the car rapides and usher you inside.
W: Nama naa la
F: Tu me manques
E: I miss you
I’m going to be saying this a lot before I leave next week! The response in Wolof can either be the same, “Nama naa la”, or “Ma la raw”, which means “I miss you more” (or “I do it more”).
I should explain the French translation a bit too: When you mean “I miss you” in French, you say “You miss me”, which has the same meaning but to me sounds a lot more egocentric. :P
After 4+ months of living in Dakar, I feel like I’ve really grown as a person and have experienced many life lessons that will benefit me in my future. Here, I have listed my top five most life-changing lessons that have deeply affected me.
TOP 5 THINGS I LEARNED IN SENEGAL:
5) How to open a beer bottle with a fork or spoon.
4) How to thoroughly confuse people with my Wolof.
3) How to wash underwear and socks by hand.
2) How to rock boot-cut blue jeans in 80+ degree weather.
1) How to sniff out a cheap meal from miles away.
W: Baax na (bah nah)
F: C’est bon
E: That’s good
Anna-Marie, one of our friends who works in the restaurant at WARC, always laughs when I say this. When I ask her why, she says “It’s just funny!” Looks like I’ve fulfilled my childhood dream of wanting to be a comedian.
W: coro (choro)
F: une copine
This is a conversation topic that comes up quite a bit: getting me a girlfriend. Which is actually hilarious. Some people in my host family were trying to set me up with one of the neighbors for a while, but that has fizzled out now. Last night, I hung out with Gabriel (a guy who comes to WARC to hang out and practice English) and his friends for a bit, and they badgered me for a while about not having a Senegalese girlfriend yet, and how they all want American girlfriends, which I’m so confused by since many of these guys don’t even know English and that kind of narrows down their options. Suffice it to say that the conversations about girlfriends, the push to couple up, and the attitudes towards women are all just a little different from what I usually hear back in the States.
I’m finding that a lot of the online info about things to do in Dakar is sadly lacking. One site listed the same market three times on its list of “Top 15 things to do in Dakar”! So, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling my own list of must-sees and must-dos in Dakar. This list is neither exhaustive nor permanent. It’s drawn from what I’ve seen and what I’ve enjoyed the past 5 months here.
Marché HLM (the fabric market/rainbow market)
Marché Sandaga (buy everything and anything)
Le Grande Mosquée (Gorgeous mosque/islamic school!)
all the graffiti (this one is hard to define, there is cool graffiti art all over the city!)
Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine (lots of controversy surrounding it’s construction, but cool to climb and a great view)
N’Ice Cream (Either downtown or in Liberté 6! I recommend Obama or Peach flavors)
Île d’Ngor (for a lazy beach day)
Île de Madeleine (for a hike through an alien world)
Palais présidentiel (can’t go in, put you can get a pic with the guard)
Phare des Mammelles (GREAT view of the city!)
Gorée Island (lots of historic sites here)
Peninsula at the end of the Corniche de l’est (I don’t know the real name of this place, but there is a great cliff outlook of the ocean and it’s part of some old colonial fort)
Magic Land (for the carnival lovers. If you go during the weekday, you’ll basically have the park to yourself at half-price)
Downtown cathedral (like the mosque, I haven’t been inside, but the outside is beautIful!)
4 vents bookstore, downtown (2-story bookstore. If you’re like me, that’s the only description you need)
Les Almadies/Ngor (ritzy neighborhood. Go if you like clubbing, or want to sneak onto the westernmost point of Africa. Cool artisinal market here too)
Parcelles (Its an exciting neighborhood, but its residential, so its best to go if you know someone there)
Parc de Hann (Walk thru the woods and by the small lake! …but skip the zoo)
Trampolines on the Corniche de l’ouest (bounce on the ocean cliff-side for only ~$1! Its near the Fann Residence area)
ADDED BY dakats
l’Institute Français (where there are fun concerts always and a great bar)
Village des Artes
Les Espaces de Création
la FIARA (only in March)
Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant
Lac Rose-Retba (Best to go in spring/summer, when the waters turn bright pink)
Abbé de Keur Moussa (get a tour of the gardens, see where how they make koras, and buy some home-made jam!)
Now you know, and make the trip! There is TONS of fun to be had if you look for it! If anyone who has been to/lives in Dakar thinks something should be added to this list, send me a message and I’ll throw it in!