Frozen bissap

Yum!

While ‘hibiscus popsicle’ sounds like the title of junk email, it’s actually a very refreshing treat here in Senegal. Take a couple big handfuls of dried bissap flowers, soak in boiling water, strain out the flowers, add sugar and mint. Pour into bags and freeze. Yum.

Brand new bag

The perfect catch-all

I’m mildly obsessed with bags and shoes. And Senegal is a great place for both. (If you like sandals and brightly colored patterns, which I do.) I bought this one up in St Louis last weekend using a bit of my leftover birthday fund.

Pottery

Kitchen décor

Speaking of birthday, I got packages from my parents this week! Mom knows I want to decorate my kitchen in blue and white, so they sent me these bowls from their recent trip to Jordan.

Sauce piment (extra fort)

Extra hot, of course.

Hot peppers in West Africa are about as closely related to Tabasco sauce as espresso is to Nescafé or Sanka. The only pepper sauce I’ve tasted that came close was a really good Scotch Bonnet sauce from Jamaica. So since being back, I’ve enjoyed adding sauce piment to just about anything that will stand still.

I’ve been worried that one day all that hot, spicy love would have to stop as a result of pregnancy indigestion, but so far so good! Bring it.

Homesickness cures

Thoughtful gifts

While we were in the US last year, Cheikh collected a few very thoughtful gifts to give me when I’m feeling homesick or missing my family. The first one he gave me on the plane ride over: a mini-flashlight to help me find my way during power cuts. The second he gave me yesterday: a Ziploc bag of pinestraw from Georgia. (Shh…Don’t tell the customs officials.) I love that smell and miss it so much when we’re away.

My collection of stretch mark prevention tools…

Anti-stretch arsenal

…and anything with an elastic waistband.

The good kind of stretch