Bathie doing one of the 16 feet in our group

Sometimes a girl just needs a little pampering. Other times, she just wants to hang out with friends and get decorative henna tattoos done in the living room. This was one of those ‘other’ times.

Pape supervising

I got Bathie’s phone number from a friend and with just a couple quick text messages, I managed to round up a group of eight for an impromptu henna party. Amber had recently received a care package from the US, so our party also included summer sausage, pepperoni, cheese dip and Oreos. Very traditional henna accompaniments.

My feet

But it’s okay because this is not your Senegalese grandma’s henna. No more sitting around with sticky tape and mud paste for hours. Instead the designs are drawn on. On the henna dries, you’re good to go. This is the new, trendy stuff that young guys at the markets are doing in little stands along the road.

Feet, hands and nails, oh my!

Bathie’s prices were really good: feet for 3,000cfa (about $6) and hands/nails for 4,000cfa (about $4). So we went a little henna crazy. Flowers, vines, swirls, stars… and somehow a cat and a scorpion made their way in too.

What? You don’t want a scorpion in your design?

I was the first guinea pig, so I had no idea what he meant when he asked if I wanted anything written in. I thought something like ‘I ❤ Senegal’ or ‘Jamm rekk’, which means ‘peace only’. Nah. But then he suggested my husband’s name. I realized this was a spectacular chance to declare my undying love through a semi-permanent fashion statement on an appendage, so I went for it. I guess Bathie could sense my enthusiasm because in addition to Cheikh’s name, he wrote the word ‘LOVE‘.

Move over Panama City airbrush t-shirts! 4-ever.