We finally made it up to St Louis. More importantly, we made it to the Dieye family! Cheikh lived with them in 2003-04 and we visited last February. And since arriving back in Senegal, we’ve been trying to get up to see them.
This past weekend we took a little road trip with our friends, Wrenn and Jamie. First destination: St Louis! In case you plan on making that trip soon, I highly recommend following The Wrenn Plan in which you leave Dakar by 6am, beating the ridiculous traffic in Rufisque, and arriving a mere three hours later.
It was, of course, great to see all the Dieye family – but especially Pape, Cheikh’s Senegalese brother. It cracked me up to hear them talk about ‘our mom’ this and ‘our house’ that. But it’s true. Cheikh has been blessed with two wonderful and diverse families! I can’t wait for the day his moms get to meet.
Wrenn and Jamie really are excellent travel buddies. They bring to the table the experience of their many African travels (which includes not having outrageous expectations and always being up for an adventure) and we bring our language abilities… and snacks!
The big event during our time in St Louis was a night-time boat ride on the Senegal River. Pape is a tour guide, so while he has some pretty awesome tours listed for clients… we got a special off-the-menu excursion.
After the sun had gone down, the six of us headed to the gaal (Senegalese fishing boat) for a tour of St Louis. No shooting stars or fireworks, but we did see the whole city lose power and then slowly come back to light.
Believe it or not, I was a bit nervous about the whole ‘let’s start a fire on a wooden boat‘ idea. But it was great. Pape made the fire, we huddled around it and his wife Oumy made us a hot milk drink while we talked.
Pape told us about his earlier career as a fishing boat captain, spending days at a time on the ocean. Oumy talked about how much she disliked being on this boat in the dark and how ready she was to get back on solid land. 🙂