This photo was taken during my week-long stay in the rural village of Teyel, in the region of Kolda in Senegal. The ladies there were preparing big batches of rice and meat for the naming ceremony of a newborn baby. The tree in the background is called a baobab. Baobabs play an important role in Senegalese life and culture. They are absolutely everywhere, and their fruit makes a delicious white juice called buy (boowee). I can’t wait to talk more about baobabs in the future!
Thank you so much for all your wonderful questions!
- Grace: Do you have a cat? – No, I do not have a cat. Cats are mostly feral (wild) here in Dakar, they roam the streets like rats or mice. People generally do not own them like pets in the same way we do in the U.S.
- Ayan: Is it fun there? – It is SO fun here! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with homework and such because of school, but even riding the bus here feels like an adventure. I can talk about the brightly colored buses called Car Rapides in another post 🙂
- Emma: Are there any fast food restaurants like McDonald’s or Burger King there? – So far, I haven’t seen any McDonald’s or Burger Kings here. However, there are a LOT of fast food restaurants that sell burgers, fries, fataaya (fried dough stuffed with spiced fish), nems (fried, Asian-inspired spring rolls), and shawarma (grilled meat and veggies wrapped up in a pita-type bread).
- Jacky: Are there any carnival fairs there? – No, there are no travelling carnival fairs here as far as I know, but there is one big run-down carnival called Magic Land near me that I can go take pictures of to show you sometime.
- Grace: Is there TV? – Yes. Almost every family has a TV here. In fact, watching TV is my family’s favorite thing to do! My dad, Pa Sarr, loves to watch the soccer games and the whole family sits together after dinner to watch soap operas in Wolof (one of the local languages).
- Emma: Do you have chess or checkers challenges? – Hmm. I don’t know about chess or checkers challenges – do you mean like competitions? I have seen some old Senegalese men playing checkers on the street. Next time I see anyone playing, I’ll ask them.
- Kalab: Do you like the food? – Yes, I LOVE the food! For the first few weeks here, I got pretty sick because my body was adjusting to the diet, but now I feel a lot better and I love all the meals my family makes. Mostly, it’s a lot of rice or couscous with fish and vegetables. Yum!
- Emma: Do you have a Rubiks Cube there? – No, I have never seen a Rubiks Cube here. Most kids that I see don’t have that many toys (my little sisters have just a few, pretty worn dolls even though my family could afford more), but play outside together a lot instead! There are kids outside my house playing marbles every single day.
- Ayan: Have you ever seen a lion in the wild? – No, I have never seen a lion in the wild. Have you? There are some lions in Senegal but they all live in enclosed reservations, for their safety.
- Grace: What is your favorite kind of pie? – My favorite kind of pie is definitely rhubarb.
The ideas you all came up with about Dakar and Portland were great. I was very interested to hear you say that you think the welfare systems would be different here. How do you think they would be different?
With the schools and animals, I think you are mostly correct – they are very similar to at home. Schools can be pretty different, though, which I’d be happy to talk about sometime. Transportation, however, is VERY different from in Portland! I’ll try to take pictures of all the different kinds of transportation here to show you next week.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away!
Ba beneen yoon, insh’allah! (Until next time, God willing!)