November 2002

Exactly ten years ago today, I boarded a plane in Atlanta to come to Senegal for the first time. So much has happened to us crazy kids in those 3,650 days. Let’s take a look at where we are now, ten years later.



Where is Cheikh?

The short answer is that he’s in the kitchen hacking away at a leg of beef. The better answer is that he and our friend Shawn decided to buy and butcher a cow and they are elbow-deep in the process right now – literally.

(If you’re a vegetarian, you may want to scroll quickly.)

Apparently buying a cow is not as simple as adding it to your shopping cart, applying any discount codes and then entering your credit card info + 3-digit code.

The guys drove out to the Beersheba Project bright and way early on Monday morning. I’m not quite sure how they picked out this particular beast, but since they are not here to explain it to me, I’m going to say they did eenie, meenie, minie, moe. Either that or they picked the one with the best eyelashes. What matters is that they picked out the cow, and then…

Once the cow was skinned, it was quartered and weighed. Let’s test your butchery knowledge. If a cow weighs 200 kilos (about 440lbs) alive, how much do you think it weighs once it’s been skinned, dressed and head and hoofs removed? Would you believe 90 kilos (about 198lbs)? Craziness. Fortunately the price we pay is based on the latter!

So together with Shawn & Jenn, we bought 90 kilos of beef at 2,000cfa/kilo (about $2/lb). To put that into perspective, the cheapest beef we can get here at a supermarket is 3,500cfa/kilo (about $3.50/lb) and it goes up to about 10,000cfa ($10/lb). Score. I mean sure, the guys will spend about three days hacking, cutting, slicing and grinding… but can you really put a price on all that fun?

That, my friends, is what Cheikh is up to ten years later. Settling in an adapting to life in Senegal, adventure by adventure.

Where is Khady?

Short answer: avoiding the cow. But you probably guessed that already.

My week started off a bit more glamorously. Jenn and I attended a DWG Tea Party at the British Ambassador’s residence. (No one was weighed at this event, with or without their hats.)

I prefer my way of settling and adjusting, don’t moo you?