Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Keur Massar, Kickin It Outside of Dakar is Where its At

This past weekend I had an excellent time kicking it with my friends Leanna and Ben at Ben's family's house in Keur Massar, a suburb of Dakar. It is a huge house (4 story apartment) with tons of family members all around (more than 15). You are never alone there. Its great. Friday night we went to a sick drum circle.

Saturday we went to Ben's mom stand at the market, which is the coolest food market ive been to. Its legit place to visit but not to take photos, then we went to the more touristy Lac Rose (pink lake) which is a salt harvesting lack that is a lot like the Dead Sea.

This dude works hard in the sun all day for like no money. It was so nice to get out of Dakar even for just the weekend but as my main man Mamadou put it, everyone here in the city wants to move out there and everyone there wants to move here. he's wise. we ate a ton of great food and danced and played card games called Marriage and Menteur.

When Ben's dad was teaching me Marriage he didn't really ever tell me all of the rules and I had to figure it out by losing like 10 times in a row. Then I won and he didn't feel like playing anymore and I never really learned how to play. Haha. Both games are fun. Everyone there was so hospitable to me it was great.

I also saw camels for the first time. Saweet.
The language situation there was awesome. To each other they spoke mostly Diola, the ethnic group from the Casamanse, the region in southern Senegal that has been a hotbed for conflict for decades. To other people not in the family they spoke Wolof, and to me they spoke French. I got to have sleepovers and listen to music under a mosquito net with various members of Ben's family on Friday and Saturday nights, a highlight, people here are nice.

It was EXTRA confusing that we were both named Ben. People would be like "Leanna are you married?" and she would say "Yes, to Ben" but she meant the other Ben who is Senegalese and in their family, not me. So I just ended up introducing myself as Benjah, my name with my boys at Tulane.

Here are the pictures from the weekend.

When we came back on Sunday I bought some Senegalese clothes. I thought I would like bargaining but I don't. I feel like I'm ripping them off or they are ripping me off or both. There is almost never a friendly outcome. Taxis I can handle but for clothes and other shopping stuff I prefer a fixed price.

All and all things are going well. The project is moving forward rapidly this week. Yossarian Clamence (aka Kimble) and I cooked I dank meat and veggies played cards last night, it was chill. Hopefully I should start my health meetings next Wednesday. Again, if ANYONE AT ALL wants to help with fund raising just let me know I can set you up. We don't need much and we are making a real impact.

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