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Senegal Daily

Khady reporting

How to throw (together) a party in Dakar

Wax-print bunting
Hanging this up instantly upgrades any get-together to a party. Minitecture makes it in many different prints and color themes. Keep a few on hand and you can set the tone of the party easily.

Zena drink mixes
I picked up a few bottles of their ‘sirops‘ at the last Lou Bess? Farmers Market and they immediately became a staple around here. I love the ginger and tamarind syrups (alone or mixed together), but will be trying more of their ready-to-pour flavors soon since there’s another farmers market this Saturday! Just add water and voila! It’s even easier to make than Kool-Aid and tastes way better… with Dakar flair.

Contact info for Simone Café, Melo Patisserie or Pause Douceur.
These lovely ladies and their bakery & cakery skills will have you covered, whether it’s a last-minute coffee party with a few friends or a big she-bang for your whole crew. Simone also offers a catering menu and the most adorable, perfect baby shower goodies.

Ice & bucket
This may be super obvious to those who frequent gas stations regularly, but since I just started driving myself around Dakar and actually going to Elton stations and such, I didn’t know that you can buy ice cubes in big ol’ bags there. Now noted. You know, in case I throw (together) a party. And those big plastic tubs used for laundry work great for chilling drinks that are easy to grab.

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Photo booth
Hit the fëgg jay market for the accessories and Rafet Décor for the frame – made from up-cycled pirogue wood for a Sénégal touch.

Piñatas
Oh Dakar, sometimes you truly amaze me. Yep. You can complete your fiesta with a hand-crafted piñata. You can fill it with candy from the American Food Store, and while you’re there…

Disposable tableware
The American Food Store in Almadies has Solo cups, paper plates, plasticware… and don’t forget the garbage bags!

“Can I wear this?”

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This muslin fabric with embroidery is pretty, right? It could be made into a lovely, lightweight summer dress or top that would be wearable in hot season. That’s what my friend thought too. But she was very perceptive in noticing that although this fabric is easily available in Dakar, it’s usually only seen for tying babies on backs.

Wise woman that she is, my friend asked about the fabric’s appropriate use over on the Gazelle Skirt, a blog and Facebook group on fashionable living in Senegal. The answers came rolling in and were in agreement that the cloths are used for tying on babies but also as slips, nightgowns of a sort and some even have rather, ahem, interesting uses between the sheets. But the question remained: would it be okay to have a tailor fashion this special-use cloth into everyday clothing and then wear it around town?

There the opinions ranged from “Probably shouldn’t” to “Well I guess you coooould…” to “Go for it!”

And that’s when I got tapped on the shoulder to write about the choices we make to dress culturally appropriately or venture (boldly or naively) out of bounds. Continue reading ““Can I wear this?””

School break survival guide for Dakar

Mom-bloggin' it.
Mom-bloggin’ it.
I realized in looking over the last few posts that I’m running the risk of becoming ‘that mom blogger’. Aie. But you know what? I don’t really care because I have some valuable information to share with parents facing the two-week school break (French system that is, don’t panic ISD and DA folks). I have scraped every corner of my mom-tired brain to compile this list of tested activities to keep little hands, feet and selves busy over the coming days… Continue reading “School break survival guide for Dakar”

Play space: tree-hugger edition

This is a story about making lemonade. Lemonade from lemons you’ve been handed, to be exact.

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I made him the bow and arrow, but I didn’t think he’d actually be able to shoot it at four years old! Now to set some ground rules…

Apartment life in a capital city located on a peninsula where every space is filled makes finding good play areas for our kids a challenge. We do have an air-quotes-yard, but it’s a far cry from the lush, leafy green yards my husband and I grew up with in Iowa and Cote d’Ivoire. So while I am thankful that we at least have some open space, that’s about all it is. Hard red dirt, a few seashells and potted plants, a scattering of twigs and pebbles and crazy amounts of trash that magically appear daily. Continue reading “Play space: tree-hugger edition”

17 things to know about Hann Park

1. It’s actually the Parc Forrestier et Zoologique de Hann, but many Anglophone toubabs call it ‘Hann Park’ because, well, it’s a park located in Hann neighborhood.

2. It’s green and leafy all year long. And your soul desperately needs green and leafy when you live in Dakar.

Continue reading “17 things to know about Hann Park”

Driving Madame Diop

Now that I’ve been a bonafide Dakar driver for three months without having an accident (it’s okay – you can hold your applause), I wanted to share my observations from behind the wheel.

When in doubt, the hierarchy of who has priority goes: 🚚 big trucks, zooming scooters 🏍, skinny cows 🐂, sunglasses vendor who couldn’t see you 🕶, slow guy taking his time to walk across the middle of the road nowhere near an intersection🚶🏽… then you. If it helps you feel better, you do have priority over chickens. 🐓

Continue reading “Driving Madame Diop”

One day

I’ve been dreading this day, knowing in my heart it would come. It’s not something you can prepare yourself for. One day you look up and see your son standing in the street leaning against a car window, begging for food and money to give to the serigne he studies under. He’s not actually your son, but the same size clothes hang on his four-year-old-frame and the same little grin explodes on his face and that twitchy little boy energy just radiates from him. But this is not your son. This four-year-old  talibé is another woman’s son. And your heart hurts for them both, unable to imagine the loss and grief they go through every day that they are apart.

Continue reading “One day”

My kind of adventure: perfectly planned. 

Often people assume I’m adventurous because of the life we live. I am not. I’m a planner. I’m a ‘plan A, B and let’s not forget C’ kind of person. So organizing day trips can be really overwhelming for me with all the snacks and diapers and sunblock and phone credit, and, and, and…

But last Monday, something magical happened. Our adventure to take my brother’s family (and our cumulative four kids) to Bandia Game Reserve was blissfully unadventurous. It was perfect. Continue reading “My kind of adventure: perfectly planned. “

Parc Kay Bonde: fun for kids… and not-kids!

Last summer in the US we took the kids to an indoor trampoline park. This was totally and completely not like that experience, but awesome in its own Dakarific ways. Continue reading “Parc Kay Bonde: fun for kids… and not-kids!”

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