Senegal Daily

Khady reporting



“Can I wear this?”

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This muslin fabric with embroidery is pretty, right? It could be made into a lovely, lightweight summer dress or top that would be wearable in hot season. That’s what my friend thought too. But she was very perceptive in noticing that although this fabric is easily available in Dakar, it’s usually only seen for tying babies on backs.

Wise woman that she is, my friend asked about the fabric’s appropriate use over on the Gazelle Skirt, a blog and Facebook group on fashionable living in Senegal. The answers came rolling in and were in agreement that the cloths are used for tying on babies but also as slips, nightgowns of a sort and some even have rather, ahem, interesting uses between the sheets. But the question remained: would it be okay to have a tailor fashion this special-use cloth into everyday clothing and then wear it around town?

There the opinions ranged from “Probably shouldn’t” to “Well I guess you coooould…” to “Go for it!”

And that’s when I got tapped on the shoulder to write about the choices we make to dress culturally appropriately or venture (boldly or naively) out of bounds. Continue reading ““Can I wear this?””

School break survival guide for Dakar

Mom-bloggin' it.
Mom-bloggin’ it.
I realized in looking over the last few posts that I’m running the risk of becoming ‘that mom blogger’. Aie. But you know what? I don’t really care because I have some valuable information to share with parents facing the two-week school break (French system that is, don’t panic ISD and DA folks). I have scraped every corner of my mom-tired brain to compile this list of tested activities to keep little hands, feet and selves busy over the coming days… Continue reading “School break survival guide for Dakar”

Play space: tree-hugger edition

This is a story about making lemonade. Lemonade from lemons you’ve been handed, to be exact.

I made him the bow and arrow, but I didn’t think he’d actually be able to shoot it at four years old! Now to set some ground rules…

Apartment life in a capital city located on a peninsula where every space is filled makes finding good play areas for our kids a challenge. We do have an air-quotes-yard, but it’s a far cry from the lush, leafy green yards my husband and I grew up with in Iowa and Cote d’Ivoire. So while I am thankful that we at least have some open space, that’s about all it is. Hard red dirt, a few seashells and potted plants, a scattering of twigs and pebbles and crazy amounts of trash that magically appear daily. Continue reading “Play space: tree-hugger edition”

17 things to know about Hann Park

1. It’s actually the Parc Forrestier et Zoologique de Hann, but many Anglophone toubabs call it ‘Hann Park’ because, well, it’s a park located in Hann neighborhood.

2. It’s green and leafy all year long. And your soul desperately needs green and leafy when you live in Dakar.

Continue reading “17 things to know about Hann Park”

Driving Madame Diop

Now that I’ve been a bonafide Dakar driver for three months without having an accident (it’s okay – you can hold your applause), I wanted to share my observations from behind the wheel.

When in doubt, the hierarchy of who has priority goes: 🚚 big trucks, zooming scooters 🏍, skinny cows 🐂, sunglasses vendor who couldn’t see you 🕶, slow guy taking his time to walk across the middle of the road nowhere near an intersection🚶🏽… then you. If it helps you feel better, you do have priority over chickens. 🐓

Continue reading “Driving Madame Diop”

One day

I’ve been dreading this day, knowing in my heart it would come. It’s not something you can prepare yourself for. One day you look up and see your son standing in the street leaning against a car window, begging for food and money to give to the serigne he studies under. He’s not actually your son, but the same size clothes hang on his four-year-old-frame and the same little grin explodes on his face and that twitchy little boy energy just radiates from him. But this is not your son. This four-year-old  talibé is another woman’s son. And your heart hurts for them both, unable to imagine the loss and grief they go through every day that they are apart.

Continue reading “One day”

My kind of adventure: perfectly planned. 

Often people assume I’m adventurous because of the life we live. I am not. I’m a planner. I’m a ‘plan A, B and let’s not forget C’ kind of person. So organizing day trips can be really overwhelming for me with all the snacks and diapers and sunblock and phone credit, and, and, and…

But last Monday, something magical happened. Our adventure to take my brother’s family (and our cumulative four kids) to Bandia Game Reserve was blissfully unadventurous. It was perfect. Continue reading “My kind of adventure: perfectly planned. “

Parc Kay Bonde: fun for kids… and not-kids!

Last summer in the US we took the kids to an indoor trampoline park. This was totally and completely not like that experience, but awesome in its own Dakarific ways. Continue reading “Parc Kay Bonde: fun for kids… and not-kids!”

How we prepare for visitors

My brother’s family arrived in Dakar yesterday. It takes all my restraint not to use 17 exclamation marks after that sentence because not only do I love him and his girls, his wife is one of my best friends. (He chose her so well, even without my help!)

As we were sitting at the airport (and by that I mean literally sitting on a curb outside the iron bars that keep exiting travelers from being mobbed by taxi drivers and phone card vendors) waiting for them to arrive, I started thinking about the things we do here to prepare for visitors that are a bit different. Continue reading “How we prepare for visitors”

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