Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Dakar

I didn't go anywhere today, even though I would have liked to go to an African church to see how they celebrate Christmas. Instead I washed my clothes. The girls took pity on me and helped me. Hand laundering is more than a notion. We had three tubs, the first wash, the second wash and the rinse cycle. After Nane showed me how to use the scrub board, you lay the garment on the board and rub the bar of soap on it to give it friction. I recalled the wooden board, the Senegalese version plastic, from when I was a child and my mother did our laundry and others she worked for.

I took photos of my clothes swaying to the breeze. Most were still wet when the sun went down, so I left them out there until the morning. I hope they are dry by then. It would have been great getting a photo of me doing the laundry; I'll have to do the laundry again before I leave, maybe in Rufisque--they get a kick out of me--their long lost African relative (smile).

I looked at the Lonely Planet Guide on-line to see what I still need to see here to say I was in Dakar. I want to add the women's prison and now Osmane Sembene's grave site which is here somewhere.

I am missing Allasane in Mali. He is going to the village tomorrow for a few days and then back to Chicago Friday, New Year's Day. I'll have to meet him in Chicago.

If I can I also want to visit the village where 10,000 Girls is located. It sounds like a great project: educating girls and teaching families the importance of female education for the community’s development.

This evening I ate a new food. It was like a donut hole (deep fried) only made from beans. It was called Akhra (phonetic spelling). Suzanne and Khady ate it with hot sauce. I had another food again as well. It is a fruit which one peels and then scraps the sticky sweetness with one's teeth. I believe it's called sump, again its phonetic spelling.

As we sat in Suzanne's room, the two women reclining on form mattresses, I sat on the end of the one Khady lies on, I listened to them converse and then Khady and we tred to converse in French and Spanish and English. Every now and then Suzanne would help us. She told me about the varioua Islamnic sects in Senegal. There are a lot. Khady is Mouride (the youngest sect and one that has a lot of youth members. It is the sect of Cheikh Amadou Bamba.)


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