Anyways, back to the nails – Many women here choose to color their nails with henna (fuddën, in Wolof), a reddish-brown dye powder made out of a local plant. You mix the powdered henna with water and carefully mold the paste onto each finger, making surely to tightly secure each fingertip with a strip of plastic. I kept the henna on all night long (you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to try to scratch your back in the middle of the night with plastic baggies on each finger!!) and washed it out in the morning. The dye on my fingers will wear off in a few days, but my nails will stay stained orange until the nail grows out! I keep getting stopped in the street by Senegalese people telling me how beautiful my hands look. What do you think of this beauty trend? Would you try it out?
I’m so excited you found time to write some questions this week!
- Reuben – Do you like the color of the water (of the Lace Rose)? Yes! I felt lucky it was so pink when I went to visit, I’ve heard that depending on the day the pink doesn’t show up very well.
- Ayan – Why do you guys play in the dunes? Why WOULDN’T we? Wouldn’t you? It was so fun!
- Mrs. Blackwell – Aren’t the dunes hot sand? The thing about the desert is that while it can get very hot during the day, it can get equally as cold at night. When we arrived in the early evening, the sand had already cooled down enough to feel refreshing. When we left the following day around 11, it had just started to heat up enough to feel unpleasant on my feet.
- Grace – Why is the color of the sand the way it is? Ha! Actually, I edit my photos to make the colors a little brighter and more fun depending on the photo. The sand was a solid, goldeny beige color.
- Rueben – Lots of people when I think of Africa. Does this mean you think more of cities than of deserts, when you think of Africa?
- Danny – I rode an ostrich in Vietnam. That sounds awesome, dude.
- Kalab – When you slept in that tent on your trip, where did you go to the bathroom? Excellent question. Luckily, a friend of mine took a photo! There were little square enclosures made out of leaves and branches woven together that surrounded a toilet and a bucket of water to wipe your bottom with. I suspect the toilet water went into a bucket buried underneath in the sand, as there’s certainly no plumbing out there.
- Justin – Why is the sand cool? Read my response to Mrs. Blackwell above!
- Rayne – Do you have to show your passport every time you go to a new country in Africa? Another great question! Usually, yes, you have to show your passport just like you would have to for any other country. However, since we literally just put one foot into Mauritania, they didn’t make us show any ID.
- Grace – In a cafeteria at school, do the students have to offer their food to other students? You know, I’m not sure! I’ve never been in a cafeteria setting. What I do know is that most students and adults that work actually go all the way home to eat lunch, or else buy lunch at a pop-up restaurant on the road selling ceebu jën. It’s normal for lunch breaks to be 2 hours long so that everyone can go home from work to eat. In those cases, since you are either eating around a big plate with your family or everyone has their own plate, it’s not necessary to share.
- Emma – Have you ever heard of the book Long Walk to Water? You know, the first time I heard about that book was from you all! I can’t wait to read it some day. Did you like it?
Thanks for all the excellent questions this week! Can’t wait to Skype this Friday.
Ba àjjuma, insh’allah! (See you on Friday, God willing!)