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2019 DWG Art Show

When we lived in France, I worked in an office with British colleagues. I learned quite a few things, not the least of which included these language differences:

  1. When your boss asks you for a ‘rubber’ in the middle of an editorial meeting, she means what I as an American would call an ‘eraser’.
  2. In America we say someone is ‘artsy fartsy’ but in the UK they are ‘arty farty’.

Now here’s something I learned five years ago here in Dakar: the DWG Art Show is not at all artsy fartsy, nor arty farty. It’s just plain awesome. Continue reading “2019 DWG Art Show”

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Dakar #trashtag: kids’ edition

When the whole #trashtag challenge started popping up on social media, I was clapping with one hand and rounding up the kids and a garbage bag with the other. The idea of transforming a piece of land in about 30 minutes while harnessing some kiddo energy for a good cause was very appealing to me.

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The tricky part was finding a place to pick up the trash. Just kidding, that was sadly not a challenge. But there were some unexpected challenges along the way, like answering their questions about why there was so much trash everywhere and why don’t people use garbage cans and why don’t they use coffee mugs instead of plastic ones and if we pick up this space today, will there be trash on it again tomorrow, and if so then why do we do it…? By the end, I have to admit that I was pretty discouraged.

I kept answering with variations on the same theme: Change begins with us.
Continue reading “Dakar #trashtag: kids’ edition”

Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!

Harmattan Dust accumulated on my bookshelf in 24 hours. With all doors and windows closed.

Every morning we wake up to a new view of the Sahel Desert from in our apartment. The Harmattan winds blow the sand in grain by grain and January is peak ‘dust season’. Even my weather app just says DUST for every day’s forecast. Well, some days it says WIDESPREAD DUST.  But don’t worry, I’ve compiled….

Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!

1. Make dust angels on the living room floor.

Continue reading “Harmattan activities: fun for the whole family!”

Hydrating in Dakar

If you thought this post would be about the city’s best after-works and watering holes, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for tips on how to stay hydrated on runs in Dakar, you’ve come to the right place. (Hello #dakarrunninggroupforwomen!)

With the cooler temperatures and upcoming Marathon Eiffage races in April, Dakar’s “sidewalks” are bursting with running enthusiasts these days, especially on weekend mornings. The further we get in our training, the more frantically we start looking around Dakar for things like blister socks, sports belts and running water bottles or other methods of hydration.

Continue reading “Hydrating in Dakar”

Band-Aids & Boo-Boos

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

When we moved to Senegal back in 2003, one of the first things we were tasked with doing were so-called ‘Band-Aid & Boo-Boo Clinics’. Basically this meant taking a basic First-Aid kit, walking around until you came across a few talibé boys or kiddos in the village and then getting to know them as you cleaned and bandages up their scrapes and boo-boos.

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This activity seemed pretty basic, but it had so many benefits. Clean wounds heal better and the risk of infection is reduced. For talibés who are often neglected (at best), the reassuring, nurturing care of an adult may go a long way in helping them feel loved and secure. It’s a great language exercise as you greet them, ask their name, where they are from, what they like to do for fun… just chatting and getting to know the boys. It can build friendships with little ones right in your neighborhood in Dakar, and with time we have found that they learn to trust you and bring you their friends who are injured or sick.

Continue reading “Band-Aids & Boo-Boos”

Bean sandwiches & sweaters

I scrolled by and saw this initiative by Samu Social Senegal to ‘collect warm clothing for ages 6 and up’.

Stop and picture a 6-year-old child you know. My son is 7.5 years old. Even bigger than the little talibé boys I see every morning, out on their own asking for food, for money… and smiling when we remember their names.

Idrissa and Samba are the two I look for each day. We made arrangements with Tata Aïcha who makes bean & egg sandwiches at the corner stand for her to feed them breakfast each morning and we pay her each week, although based on her warm smile when she sees them, I suspect she would do all she can to feed them even without us. Continue reading “Bean sandwiches & sweaters”

19 things I want to see in Dakar in 2019

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Fresh coconuts abound on pushcarts around town. But I’d like to see someone get into the coconut delivery business. “Hello? Four coconuts nan mandi for Almadies, please.”

A monthly artisan market, like a cross between the Dakar Farmers Market and the various Christmas markets.

Me learning and using more Wolof.

A Senegalese fruit-of-the-month subscription.

Beer-Sheba beef, pork, chickens and sausages available in Dakar grocery stores and/or home deliverg. I’d settle for just the sausages. And the beef.

Continue reading “19 things I want to see in Dakar in 2019”

Upgrading the #taxidakar

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This afternoon, I decided to do something a little different, something a little out of the ordinary for me. I decided to do something that would hopefully change things for the better in da’ car – I mean, in Dakar.

I needed to take a taxi to pick up my kids from school and then go on to downtown. So I walked to the corner taxi stand, like I do most days. But this time, rather than taking the first car in the lineup, I said I want one with two belts in the backseat. I thought it was a pretty reasonable request since there were 11 taxis there waiting. Surely this would be no problem, right?

Wrong.

The first three taxis did not even pretend to have seatbelts. Continue reading “Upgrading the #taxidakar”

This is us.

What do you get for the person who has everything-from-Senegal? Where do you find something unique but awesome? How do you choose a gift that reflects eight years of friendship between your two families?

I have no idea. But I can tell you this: our friends Steffi & Dani nailed this one.

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Best. Present. Ever.

This painting was made from our family photo by Moussa at Soumbedioune. (Tel: 77 310 0828.) Tell him The German sent you.

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We lieb you guys and will miss you so much here in Dakar. Thank you for this amazing, near life-size, Senegal-rific gift.

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