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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 (or Wave!) 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. Order from Club Tiossane and experience the best of Dakar arriving at your door. My order usually features Marie’s Kitchen English muffins, Veronique’s all-peanut butter, kale, arugula, tofu from Rowena, BeerSheba sausages, Club Kossam yogurts… lots of stuff! I also lean on TafTaf.sn for last-minute items—and ice! Continue reading “Welcome to Dakar! Now what?”

Dear new arrivals to Dakar…

Hi! Welcome. I know, it’s crazy hot and muggy this time of year. No, it really does get better – right hand pinkie promise. (You’ll learn soon enough never to do anything with your left hand and why…) But yeah, around the end of October it will get even hotter, but the air will be super dry and still. Almost creepy still. It’s miserable for two weeks, but you know that means that cooler weather is on its way in. And by Christmas I’m betting you’ll have even worn a light sweater or jacket a couple times. Trust me, by the end of spring you’ll be thinking 70 degrees is downright nippy!

That’s the thing about life in Dakar: the things that drive you crazy will either change or change you. Sometimes both.

Continue reading “Dear new arrivals to Dakar…”

2021 DWG Art Show

Longtime dakarois started buzzing about the annual Dakar Women’s Group Art Show last month, wondering if it would happen this year and if so, what form it would take. Newcomers to Dakar have been asking what this art show is all about and why everyone seems so interested in it. 

I’ll tell you why. 

The 2021 DWG Art Show features over 65 local artists and their carefully curated works in an online format that allows you to browse, ooh and ahh, share and shop from the comfort of your home (or during that boring Zoom meeting…). 

But it’s more than Dakar’s largest art show, more than just decorating your walls. For every purchase, 20% is donated to DWG charities that support women, education and healthcare in Senegal. Last year, the DWG Art Show raised over 4.5 million CFA for local charities, and each of us can have a part in that this year.

You can browse the DWG Art Show Facebook page and their Instagram account now to get to know the featured artists, and all the artwork will be available for viewing on www.thedwg.org starting Monday, May 3rd. (Go ahead and click. I know you want to, even though the site is hidden until the 3rd!)

“In the face of a worldwide health crisis, the incredible artist community here in Senegal have had significant setbacks and yet they have continued to support one another and create moving, provocative, and innovative work.”

— Jen Davis, co-chair for the 2021 DWG Art Show

Those that have frequented the Art Show in years past know that one of the highlights we all look forward to is… The Squares! Each featured artist donates a 20 cm x 20 cm square work they create on the chosen theme, and this year 100% of those sales will go to DWG-funded charities. Mark your calendars for the Virtual Vernissage on May 6th from 10am to 10pm Dakar o’clock and hop on to bid in the auction for the square pieces on the theme of Resilience. (An excellent theme for 2021, eh? So be resilient. Keep bidding! Keep bidding!) 

Online sales for this 19th edition of the charitable art show will open online Friday, May 7th, and close on Sunday, May 16th. 

Toni Okujeni, After the Rain

Things I learned when we got stuck out of Dakar

⁃ Always travel with your family’s passports. (Fortunately we knew this one and it’s a habit.) Not only will you need them for checking into hotels, but that way you have them if you need to leave the country in an emergency and can’t get back to Dakar. (On this note, see Packing your bug-out bag.)

⁃ Mobile money goes with you. Whether you Wave or Orange Money, put money on your phone and download the apps before you leave Dakar. Finding an open mobile money kiosk that can handle larger transactions may get harder as you get further out of town.

⁃ If you have Woyofal prepaid electricity in your home, be sure you have enough credit loaded to last, even if your return date is delayed.

⁃ Purchase phone/4G credit before hitting the road.

⁃ Bring all the chargers and adapters for your devices, including USB charger for whatever vehicle you may be in.

⁃ Let someone know where you’re going (include GPS location), how you’re getting there and when you’ll be back, and your emergency contact info. Update them if/when your plans change.

⁃ Extra masks, hand sanitizer and hand wipes.

⁃ You don’t need to carry tons of water with you, but do plan ahead. Will you be in an area that bottled water is available? Or will you bring refillable personal bottles? Should you bring Aquatabs with you? (Our go-to is traveling with a pump that goes into a 19L bottle. Easy refills for personal water bottles.)

⁃ Travel with ataya goodies. Tea + sugar gifts for the guards where you’ll be staying make you more memorable.

⁃ Ladies, no matter where your destination may be, bring an easily accessible wrap or scarf if you are wearing shorts to travel. If you have an impromptu stop (car probs or other) in a more remote area, you can use it as a skirt.

⁃ The corner buutiks carry soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, packets of laundry soap and basic food items for snacks (Bisko cookies & milk, chips, etc…) and simple meals (pasta salad with sardines, olives, mayo and mustard).

⁃ The corner buutiks may close for Friday prayers… and also during demonstrations. #lessonlearned

⁃ Pharmacies carry feminine hygiene products. And purchasing them there will then help you understand Period Poverty.

⁃ Heed the advice that my dad gave me when I was 16. “In the long run, it doesn’t cost you any more to keep your gas tank full than it does to keep it low.”

2020 Dakar gift guide

No intro needed. Let’s dive right in to my list of 50 gifts available in Dakar in 2020 that I have either loved receiving or would love to receive!

  1. Les Gazelles de Dakar round serving tray. Wood, glass and gorgeous animal prints.
  2. Nina and her little things pottery bowls, handmade from Senegalese clay. Specifically two large, flat ones for quinoa bowl meals.
  3. Bogolan & leather poncho from Kakinbow
  4. Mirror by Diop RéCréations, available at Minibap.
  5. Fulani earrings from My African Heart Jewelry in Ngor
  6. Huge, gorgeous solid wood pepper grinder by Malika Monkeys
  7. Personalized skin care creams, lotions and more by Cinnamum. Contact Julie in English / French, love her (and her products) forever.
  8. Handmade rug made from 20 meters of wax print by Kayoong, available at Atmosphere, Cocktail du Senegal, Minibap (both locations), Nahyel and Caravane by ERC.
  9. Recuplast recycled plastic stool, at Minibap
  10. Gift certificate to Kobido by Valerie, my favorite facial experience.
  11. ITS Whittled spatula, made by a high school student at Dakar Academy.
  12. Learning to See” by Gary Engelberg
  13. Bolé necklace, repurposed silks and hand dyed fabrics and wooden beads to create a modern day pearl.
  14. Yoga class gift certificates from 3 Elements with Daniela, overlooking the ocean in Almadies. Best possible way to start your Monday morning!
  15. Sous-verre tray from Atmosphère (particularly love the one of couples or women with amazing headscarves).
  16. Hand-blown Moroccan Verre Beldi glassware from Minibap. (If, ahem, anyone asks… I want the water carafe and the flutes.)
  17. Freshly roasted Colombian coffee from Cadence Coffee, available at the BulkShop.
  18. Wax print duffle bag from PochOp
  19. Surf lessons from Ecole Surf Attitude. 2021 is going to be my year, y’all.
  20. Wax print footstool from Atmosphère in Almadies. Plus their Christmas market is about to start!
  21. Fairy ring with sparkling gemstones by My African Heart Jewelry
  22. Pottery made by deaf students at Colombin center in Ouakam
  23. ‘Made in Dakar’ bags by Cecile de Samo
  24. So Long a Letter” by Mariama Ba
  25. Wax & leather handbag from Anne Calfo in Mamelles
  26. Take Off Ngor hat. 15,000 CFA. Tel: 77 647 5162
  27. Kayoong baskets and handbags, handmade from wax print fabric, available at Minibap locations, Caravane by ERC, Atmosphere Decoration, Melo Patisserie, Cocktail du Senegal and Nahyel.
  28. Silver bangle bracelets from My African Heart Jewelry in Ngo
  29. Juju hat from Ibrahim. The brighter the better.
  30. IMADI leather-trim baskets in neutral colors.
  31. Inaya dress by Debbo Dakar, aka the most flattering and easy to wear dress in my closet.
  32. Bogolanfini cloth from Yussu Diaby in Almadies. 15,000 CFA per piece. Tel: 70 481 7574
  33. A sampler case of Gecko. Just put a bow on it.
  34. Wax print suspenders from Kakinbow
  35. Everything and anything from the indigo collection at Tisserand. Bonus points if H & N come help me style it. 😉
  36. Hand-painted oil lamp from Minibap.
  37. Wax print espadrilles from Anne Calfo
  38. Houseplants from Jardin Senegal / Minibap.
  39. Chaya pants from Khaira Fall Creation in HLM 5
  40. The Belly of the Atlantic” by Fatou Diome
  41. One more treat from Cinnamum!

STOCKING STUFFERS

  1. First, the stocking! Imadi makes gorgeous stocking at just 4000 CFA. Made to order so contact Fatou ASAP!
  2. Mon Choco bars from Minibap
  3. Wooden hair sticks by ITS Whittled.
  4. Wax print napkins, made by my kiddos.
  5. Malian bangle bracelets from Minibap.
  6. Take Off Ngor bumper sticker, just 1500 CFA. Tel: 77 647 5162
  7. Dried mango from BulkShop Dakar
  8. Take Off Ngor t-shirt. 15,000 CFA and they are great quality. Tel: 77 647 5162
  9. Bounty bars (my weakness!)
  10. Fresh coconut… because how awesome is that for a Christmas stocking!
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DWG Art Show is coming to you!

Mark your calendar. Have Siri remind you. Put a Post-it note on your kitchen wall:

The DWG Art Show 2020 launches online on Thursday, April 30th at 8pm. (It’s curfew, so you’d better be home and ready at your screen!) You don’t want to miss the opening event, the Squares, all original works on 20cm x 20 cm canvases which are a DWG Art Show tradition.

The 2020 Squares

Through the years, artists generously share their talents and donated small works with their interpretation of a theme. Usually the Squares are exhibited together on a dedicated wall in the DWG Art Show gallery, and sell fast! They sell for 25,000 CFA each, and thanks to the generosity of the artists, all of these revenues from them go directly to support DWG’s charitable activities. 

Knowing how popular the Squares are, last year they shifted from a first come-first sold basis, to a lottery: anyone who is interested in a Square can sign up for it and from the list of interested people, the “winner” is selected randomly. This year, they will be doing this via Facebook comments. Just write “I want to buy this square,” in the comments. This will be from 8 pm on April 30th – until 7.59 pm on May 1st.

Continue reading “DWG Art Show is coming to you!”

Mask up.

Anyone else’s laundry look like this these days?

According to page 3 of today’s update from the Ministry of Health, wearing face masks in public is now strongly recommended here in Senegal. Considering the movement of things, I would not be surprised if it became mandatory soon. In any case, there’s no time like the present to get yourself stocked in reusable, washable face masks!

Continue reading “Mask up.”

Tips for working from home

As a consultant, I’ve worked from home for many years. And just this week, I’ve been joined (at a distance!) by many of you here in Dakar. Mai-anh Peterson, a British localization specialist and digital project manager also based in Dakar, recently shared some fantastic tips for a successful teleworking experience and I asked her share them here.  She has been working remotely from her home office for a UK-based company since moving to Senegal in 2015.

Chez Mai-Anh

With the events surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic changing by the day, many offices are asking employees to work from home wherever possible. If you’re not used to home working, it can be challenging to adjust to the new environment and feel as productive and supported by colleagues as you normally do in the workplace. For those who are also practising social distancing, it may be difficult to deal with feelings of loneliness or anxiety. Here are some useful tips for safeguarding your mental health as well as your physical health during these uncertain times:
Continue reading “Tips for working from home”

Preparing for Covid-19 in Senegal

Preparedness, not panic. Let’s all repeat it together. Preparedness, not panic.

So how should we be preparing here in Dakar? For those that have seen me get squeamish around taking out a splinter, you know I’m not a medical professional. But I have friends with roots and connections here in Senegal who are and we’ve been talking a lot about what preparedness should (or could) look like. From those conversations, I have made this list. More ideas welcome!

1. Don’t settle for crappy news sources.
Go straight to reputable sources for your information. If you see something shared on social media with a source listed, go to the source and verify it before sharing. (This is exactly how the rumor got started that Senegal was the #2 most polluted country in the world. An article + image circulated on social media citing the WHO/OMS as a source, but wasn’t.)

For Covid-19 in Senegal, the sources I am looking to are:

Daily briefings and communiqués published on the health ministry website and Facebook page. Not the ones that are being shared on WhatsApp. Go. to. the. source.

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
JHU Covid-19 Global Cases

2. Store a 2-week supply of food and water (per DHS recommendations for before a pandemic) while supporting local production. This means your shopping list could include a large bag of rice from Casamance, dried niébé beans, all-peanut butter from Veronique’s peanuts, fonio… And don’t forget the piment sauce!

3. Go online. Should you choose to follow social distancing guidelines or need to self-quarantine, TafTaf.sn delivers a growing variety of groceries, Hypermarché has online ordering and delivery via Jumia Food, and Club Kossam is rolling out their organic grocery ordering and deliveries, including BeerSheba products. MIYA delivers water. 

4. Drop the bisous and handshakes already.

5. Go ahead and buy medicines you may need for common illnesses (pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, drinks with electrolytes…). Also be sure to buy at least 3 weeks of any prescription medications you may need. Do this NOW. But please read up on mask recommendations before buying and wearing them.

6. Talk to your kids. Talk to them about hand washing, talk to them about their fears, equip them with truth and the power to protect themselves and others. If you’re feeling a bit lost on how to do this, there are lots of great resources online.  

7. Save these numbers. 

Health ministry hotline: 800 00 50 50
SAMU Nationale: 15 15
Health ministry alert numbers: 767659731 / 707171492 / 781721081

But before you call them, call SOS Medecins, Remed24 or your usual GP. Local physicians are a key first screening step to save resources above from unnecessary overload.

8. Keep an eye on yourself, and others. Self monitoring and self quarantining are the new adulting, people. Let’s be smart together. 

Preparedness, not panic.


Wash your hands like you just ate mafé and are about to crochet a white Kayoong basket.

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