No, not a flea bag. Flee, as in ‘to flee the country’.

This morning we packed for a trip we hope to never take. With the upcoming presidential elections and the increased tension here in Senegal (video here), we’ve been advised to prepare ourselves for worst-case scenarios which include either not being able to leave the apartment for an extended period of time or needing to leave the country in a hurry.

These two extremes require different kinds of preparation, as one means you need lots of extra stuff on hand (food, water, batteries…) and one means you take the absolute minimum (legal documents, toiletries and a change of clothes in a backpack) and leave everything else. Gulp.

We were given packing checklists, which were very helpful. But when you’re standing in your bedroom with closets and drawers open, it’s hard to decide what makes the cut. If it comes down to an evacuation, will I need jeans and a sweater for airplane travel and possibly a cold-weather destination? Will we go somewhere that I’ll need a long skirt and modest top with sleeves? Depending on where we go, will Pape just need onesies or should I pack his winter hat and little fleece-wear? One thing is sure: diapers. I’m packing lots of diapers.

The checklist also included good walking shoes, a canteen, sunglasses, sunscreen and hats. I suppose this in case we walk across the desert, which is not very likely. But there’s good news, folks. Pape is prepared and in case of a trek across the desert, he will be quite stylish in his chapeau with sun tail.