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Senegal Daily

Khady reporting

Welcome to Dakar! Now what?

1. Get a SIM card, preferably (in my opinion) from Orange as you can then get Orange Money which will make life much easier in the long run.

2. Figure out taking a taxi. 🚖. Agree on a price before you get in, know that most destinations will be in the 1000-3000 cfa range and bargaining is normal. Seatbelts are not. 😄

3. Check out Dakar Eats. Facebook, Instagram or website. Pick your poison. Or all three! Note that summer will be quiet on good ol’ DE, but lots of good info in the archives. Continue reading “Welcome to Dakar! Now what?”

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5 things in the (new!) Bradt Guide to Senegal

One would think that after living here for a cumulative ten years, we’d have a pretty good idea of what’s fun to do in Senegal and how to go about doing it. Yes. One would. But they might be just the teensiest bit mistaken. The more we learn and experience, the more we realize there’s a a lot more to learn and experience!

Flipping through the newly updated Bradt Travel Guide for Senegal, we both came to the same conclusion: we gotta do more of this stuff. And armed with this comprehensive and handy little guide that author Sean Connolly has updated, we just might.

5 things I learned in the Bradt guidebook:

  • how to cross the borders into our five neighboring countries and what to expect at each one
  • things to be aware of when traveling during Ramadan (brilliant topic!)
  • the scoop on the most popular dailies and weeklies in Senegal, as well as glossy fashion mags to look for. #gazelleskirt
  • how to travel in a way that stimulates and develops local economy and also a great list of charities open to short-term international volunteers

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Hopefully those who pick up a copy of this guidebook will find the information as helpful as we are. In particular I hope the ‘Dakar for children’ and ‘Dakar: Where To Eat and Drink’ sections will be useful since that’s my turf and I love helping people experience #dakarplaygrounds and the amazing food scene Dakar offers. Bon voyage et bon app’!

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Two women on a rooftop

I went up on the rooftop trampoline early this morning to, well… dance like a fool and call it a workout. When I got up there, my heart sank for a second when I saw a woman doing laundry in the shade right at the edge of the trampoline. She had a giant pile of wet clothes, buckets of foamy suds, basins of clear water and was right smack in the middle of squish-squishing those clothes clean.

I felt like an idiot in my neon shirt and leggings. And I had plans to look like an even bigger idiot while dancing out my playlist up there by myself, recharging my introvert batteries a bit.

But I decided there was room on our giant rooftop for the two of us and that I would play the Weird Toubab card and still do my workout. (Ahem, with headphones though and hopefully not accidentally singing out loud.)

I greeted her. She greeted me. I invited her to jump and do some ‘esport‘ on the trampoline. She laughed and kept on washing. Continue reading “Two women on a rooftop”

How to prepare for a water cut

1. Be thankful you were given warning to prepare.

2. Plan on a minimum of 3-5 liters per adult per day.

3. Fill any empty bottles and buckets you have available.

4. Make a basket of muffins for your friends who have pools.

5. Consider stocking up on paper plates and paper napkins since dish washing will be limited.

6. Buy 10-liter water bottles in advance to give out to neighbors and staff during the cut.

7. Locate your stash of baby wipes, aka Little Showers. Also not a bad time to brush up on your Bucket Bath skills.

8. Do. All. The. Laundry. Now.

9. If you have a reservoir, check to be sure it is full and no visible leaks. (Also a good time to mention that reservoirs should be cleaned twice a year. Call your favorite plumber for that gig.)

10. Memorize the SDE info number (800 00 11 11) or join DKR Power & Water Cuts for updates and info.

PS. They have announced a cut (in ALL CAPS CLOWN FONT) starting tomorrow and lasting through Monday.

2019 DWG Art Show

When we lived in France, I worked in an office with British colleagues. I learned quite a few things, not the least of which included these language differences:

  1. When your boss asks you for a ‘rubber’ in the middle of an editorial meeting, she means what I as an American would call an ‘eraser’.
  2. In America we say someone is ‘artsy fartsy’ but in the UK they are ‘arty farty’.

Now here’s something I learned five years ago here in Dakar: the DWG Art Show is not at all artsy fartsy, nor arty farty. It’s just plain awesome. Continue reading “2019 DWG Art Show”

Dakar #trashtag: kids’ edition

When the whole #trashtag challenge started popping up on social media, I was clapping with one hand and rounding up the kids and a garbage bag with the other. The idea of transforming a piece of land in about 30 minutes while harnessing some kiddo energy for a good cause was very appealing to me.

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The tricky part was finding a place to pick up the trash. Just kidding, that was sadly not a challenge. But there were some unexpected challenges along the way, like answering their questions about why there was so much trash everywhere and why don’t people use garbage cans and why don’t they use coffee mugs instead of plastic ones and if we pick up this space today, will there be trash on it again tomorrow, and if so then why do we do it…? By the end, I have to admit that I was pretty discouraged.

I kept answering with variations on the same theme: Change begins with us.
Continue reading “Dakar #trashtag: kids’ edition”

Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!

Harmattan Dust accumulated on my bookshelf in 24 hours. With all doors and windows closed.

Every morning we wake up to a new view of the Sahel Desert from in our apartment. The Harmattan winds blow the sand in grain by grain and January is peak ‘dust season’. Even my weather app just says DUST for every day’s forecast. Well, some days it says WIDESPREAD DUST.  But don’t worry, I’ve compiled….

Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!

1. Make dust angels on the living room floor.

Continue reading “Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!”

Hydrating in Dakar

If you thought this post would be about the city’s best after-works and watering holes, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for tips on how to stay hydrated on runs in Dakar, you’ve come to the right place. (Hello #dakarrunninggroupforwomen!)

With the cooler temperatures and upcoming Marathon Eiffage races in April, Dakar’s “sidewalks” are bursting with running enthusiasts these days, especially on weekend mornings. The further we get in our training, the more frantically we start looking around Dakar for things like blister socks, sports belts and running water bottles or other methods of hydration.

Continue reading “Hydrating in Dakar”

Band-Aids & Boo-Boos

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

When we moved to Senegal back in 2003, one of the first things we were tasked with doing were so-called ‘Band-Aid & Boo-Boo Clinics’. Basically this meant taking a basic First-Aid kit, walking around until you came across a few talibĂ© boys or kiddos in the village and then getting to know them as you cleaned and bandages up their scrapes and boo-boos.

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This activity seemed pretty basic, but it had so many benefits. Clean wounds heal better and the risk of infection is reduced. For talibĂ©s who are often neglected (at best), the reassuring, nurturing care of an adult may go a long way in helping them feel loved and secure. It’s a great language exercise as you greet them, ask their name, where they are from, what they like to do for fun… just chatting and getting to know the boys. It can build friendships with little ones right in your neighborhood in Dakar, and with time we have found that they learn to trust you and bring you their friends who are injured or sick.

Continue reading “Band-Aids & Boo-Boos”

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