Senegal Daily

Khady reporting



June hurts. 

June is a horrible month for expats. It’s the worst. So many goodbyes. Even the ones that aren’t particularly hard or remarkable add up and up and up… until the weight of all the losses seems like it will crush life out of you.

“Are you ready to leave?” I asked her. I wanted to hear her say yes. I wanted to hear that she knows they are making the right choice, that she has lived every experience she wanted to in Africa, that she has closure and said her goodbyes well and that the time for them to move on to the next step and she’s excited about it. But I also knew that hearing those words would hurt because it would feel as if she’s ready to move on from me, as if our friendship was one of the items she had piled up in the give-away stack to leave here.

My head knows it’s not actually true that she is moving on from our friendship, but my heart knows that distance changes things. I know this from experience as the expat who ‘gets left behind’ over and over… Each goodbye builds on the pain and sadness of the previous ones. It’s been a year and we are still grieving the losses from last June, the month of Expat Exodus, plus the ‘bonus departures’ that come up so quickly and take your friends unexpectedly. It’s part of the revolving doors of expat life.

So yeah, June hurts.

Everything in my expat-self wants to become tougher because of it. It doesn’t take long for the goodbyes to get too hard, too often and all you want to do is shut down emotionally.

Two thoughts swirl in my brain at once:

1. This is too hard. I’m finished. I’m done opening my heart up to make friends, knowing they’ll get taken away six months, a year or two years later. I don’t want to risk the heartache.

2. This is too wonderful. As hard as it is, I have to choose to continue opening myself up to these amazing, go-deep friendships. I don’t want to risk missing out on a gift this meaningful.

Dakar day trip? Be prepared!

Long story short, we spent the night at an airBnB in Ngaparou because we got caught in traffic for a Gamou (pilgrimage) type event trying to get back to Dakar today. (No, this wasn’t the Catholic pilgrimage to Popenguine just a few miles away on the same weekend. We knew about that one.) There was a Muslim pilgrimage at Nguekokh near Bandia. Insane. So. Many. People.

We sat and sat and sat in traffic, barely centimetering forward, after a day adventuring with our friends who arrived in Senegal recently and were now stuck in the traffic in the car behind us as people, motorcycles, cars, trucks and more swam past us like a school of fish swimming in the opposite direction. Oops. Continue reading “Dakar day trip? Be prepared!”

5 Dakar tips: June 2017

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 8.59.36 PM.png1. Buy (or make) Ramadan baskets.
A thoughtful gift for friends who are fasting during the month of Ramadan. As in many things, it’s the thought that counts so don’t worry too much about getting the contents of the basket exactly right. You can buy them, or put them togetherput them together yourself. Either way, the sentiment will be understood and appreciated.

2. Make your bucket list!
Hot season is creeping closer every day. You feel it, right? Make a list (right now) Continue reading “5 Dakar tips: June 2017”

10 minutes (seriously) to save a life

International Christian Fellowship, Precious Gift, Hopital Principal and Chez Fatou invite you to donate blood to help replenish desperately low banks during Ramadan, a time when many are fasting and cannot give blood. 10 minutes to save a life… plus every donor at our June 3rd blood drive will walk out with a gift from our lovely host, Chez Fatou restaurant in Almadies: a coupon to buy one item, get one free!

I know. I know. You’re all like, “10 minutes, suuure…” But ladies and gentlemen, Continue reading “10 minutes (seriously) to save a life”

Spring cleaning? Decluttering? Consider donating…

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Over the next couple of months, many of Dakar’s expats will be moving away as their assignments and contracts here come to a close – which means that yard sale season is upon us! And then there are some of us who are staying here, but still feel the urge to do some serious spring cleaning and decluttering.

Whatever the reason may be, if you find yourself looking at a pile of stuff thinking, “Who could use this?” or “Where could I donate that?”, this list is for you! I’ve compiled a list of 20+ local organizations and projects that are in need of non-financial donations and many of the items could be in that ever-growing pile sitting in front of you…

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You can download the PDF below to find a good home for everything from can openers to cloth diapers, cleaning supplies to children’s books!


The list includes current donation requests from Keru Yakaar (House of Hope) Clinic, AYWA International, The Beer-Sheba Agricultural Project, African Chelonian Institute, La Pouponniere de Dakar, Ligue pour la Protection des Animaux, L’Ecole Renaissance des Sourds and other great initiatives in and around Dakar. Please share the list with anyone you think may be interested.

If you know of a project or organization that may want to be included in this list, just let me know. Thanks!

Coco Sahel

My obsession with fresh coconuts is well documented.

Most of the vendors are young guys who have come from Guinea so your Wolof skills will only get you so far. Better luck with French. Or charades. The good news is that there are only two basic questions to answer: do you want a 400 CFA or 500 CFA coconut? With meat to eat, or just coconut water?

One of the vendors I go to most often parks his pushcart on the Corniche, a strategic location where thirsty runners and athletes pass by.
Continue reading “Coco Sahel”

Dakar Yoga

Hello, and thank you for joining me for my very first Dakar Yoga class. You may not know that I am quite the yogini (just Googled it to be sure I’m using the word correctly), but after accumulating a whopping five classes with Jenneke and Mina under my belt, I felt the time had come for me to take the next step and start teaching my own class.

So grab a straw mat and a bottle of Kirene, put on a comfy pair of tie-dyed chaya pants and join us for some Dakar Yoga… Continue reading “Dakar Yoga”

How do expats say hello?

“I wouldn’t kiss Danielle, but I always bisou her husband. And Lauren and I hug at coffee dates but I think kiss at other events.”

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These are things expats say. I know because we discuss them regularly in various circles. How do we greet each other… and why on Earth do we do it that way? Every interaction with another expat takes into account three factors: my home culture, their home culture and the culture and level of formality of the event where we are greeting each other.

Some cultures greet with a handshake, others with a (wimpy or bear) hug, or kisses on both cheeks, even three cheek kisses (hallo Dutch buddies!), some just a casual head-nod-wassup. And let’s not forget the religious who do not touch members of the opposite sex, but instead opt for a polite clasping of their hands at the chest to acknowledge and greet you. These make for an interesting mix when you toss them all together.
Continue reading “How do expats say hello?”

9 (hot) things to do (hot) today

It has been SO hot recently. I went to bed in a sweatshirt one night and woke up in the middle of the Sahel Desert right in my bedroom.  So hot. The good news is that it’s too hot to stay this hot…in April. 

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But yes, it will get hotter. And much, much, much more humid. (I mean at least this is dry heat, ammirite longtimers?) 

However let’s be wise and do the following seven things:

1. Put a mostly-full Kirene bottle of water in the freezer. Give it to a guard, delivery person, talibé boy… A much appreciated gift we can give daily in hot weather.  Continue reading “9 (hot) things to do (hot) today”

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