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Khady reporting

5 tips for August in Dakar

1. August in Dakar acts a lot like August in France. Quite a few restaurants and businesses will be closed for their summer holidays. Most restaurants do a pretty good job of keeping customers informed via Facebook pages. Others that don’t should really read this… 😉

2. Small vendors are still open! Véronique‘s amazing all-peanut butter, Diami’s incredible yassa and thieboudieune, Marie’s homemade English muffins, granola, cinnamon rolls, pizza crusts, tortillas, honey, bagels and more… Dakar is home to many small vendors who deliver their artisanal products to your home for a small fee, which usually winds up being even less than you would pay for the taxi fare to go pick up your order. Woohoo! (And there’s also the service side as well: Lamine’s fantastic mani-pedis, Marietou’s custom-made wax print clothing and home decor, Marie Claude‘s massages and spa treatments – all in your home.)

3. The biggest holiday of the year is coming up in early September. Be aware that crime rates increase leading up to Tabaski as the ram sacrifice and its festivities require a lot of CFA. Continue reading “5 tips for August in Dakar”

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Dear new arrivals in Dakar

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Hi! Welcome. I know, it’s crazy hot and muggy this time of year. No, it really does get better – right hand pinkie promise. (You’ll learn soon enough never to do anything with your left hand and why…) But yeah, around the end of October it will get even hotter, but the air will be super dry and still. Almost creepy still. It’s miserable for two weeks, but you know that means that cooler weather is on its way in. And by Christmas I’m betting you’ll have even worn a light sweater or jacket a couple times. Trust me, by the end of spring you’ll be thinking 70 degrees is downright nippy!

That’s the thing about life in Dakar: the things that drive you crazy will either change or change you. Sometimes both. Continue reading “Dear new arrivals in Dakar”

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!

Donations

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”

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