We'll return to day four after I talk about day 5--back at Grand Yoff. The way back from Rufisque was a lot less expensive. My friend, Muhammadou suggested we share a cab with others traveling to Dakar and with four passengers the prices was cut to $2000 CVAs. I think I will be dreaming in CVAs when I return to the land of dollars.
I suppose everything is so inflated outside the United States or first world nations, I hear Britain is crazy expensive also, because of the cheap labor outside the country, which makes products cheap, as well as the underdeveloping of Africa's natural resources which means folks outside the country profit more than the folks within, not to mention the payoffs and corruption that accompanies government deals everywhere.
No, I am not any happier that my understanding is catching up with my back account, but when I smile and shake my head no when vendors want to sell me an item, I don't feel as robbed anymore. We're all being robbed.
My the electric fan feels good and it's so nice to be able to sit on a toilet seat, although after a full day I was getting the hang of the swatting to pee and defecate. I wasn't going there with my left hand for wiping. I bought tissue and carried it with me into the facility (smile).
My thigh muscles are getting stronger and since I have so many food allergies I think I might loose a few pounds. I am loving the weather, and again I am really having fun meeting the different people.
In Rufisque today I met fishermen and boat manufacturers...a great investment opportunity I am looking into when I get back home. Wood is shipped to Rufisque from Casamance, close to the border between Guinea and Senegal. electric saws cost 1 million CVAs here and just half as much over the border. The poor fellow only had one so the young men he employed who were happy for an honest living were working up a serious sweat with the hand axes.
When I got up after a breakfast of fruit and local tea, we headed over to the beach where the Coumba Yamba Festival takes place at the beach at Rufisque. On the way to the beach we stopped by Muhammadou's daughter's school, met the teacher and the kids posed for photo opts. Near the school was the Internet Cafe where my host checks his mail. I took a photo to the men together.
All in the road were kids in various uniforms depicting their schools--K-12 and even college. I am still blown away by the mosques on every other corner and the Cheikh Amadou Bamba is everywhere as well. His photo was on the building where ice for the fish is made. My friend kidded me and said the Cheikh didn't have an interest or share in the company. Too bad I thought.
Last night was really special. I was honored to witness a healing ritual. Mama Oulimata and sisters in the congregation performed the first part of a healing ceremony. Wow! It was pretty awesome.
I love the idea that wellness is not individual but collective, which means when someone is sick, so am I and as such I participate in the healing. When I am well you are also, and if you are not well, I am not either.
These sisters' work is focused on mental health and reproductive health--important work. We fit so much into two days and one night, it felt when we were returning to Grand Yoff that i'd been away for days not just one.
Let's see, today we went to a school, Internet Cafe, the beach where we met fishermen and boat builders, to the Shrine where Mame Oulimata and her sister did a ritual for me to bless me on this journey home. We went to the Pink Lake, which isn't pink when the sun isn't shining brightly. More then the Lake I liked the opportunity to see more countryside and see how the land is being developed like the South Bay was back when the farmers' land was bought and homes built.
Get this, there is even a wall going up around the suburb. The average cost is $1 million CVAs or about $700,000 US. When I asked Muhammadou who was buying these plots, because most are sold, he said the bank. People are taking out loans and going into debt to be the new "Jeffersons: Moving on up."
I asked about the animals and he replied, they will just cross to the other side of the road, but from what I noticed, and I am in no way an economist or an expert, but housing stock development didn't seem to be employing a lot of people. Along this same road there were big holes where huge crevices made pockets --the vehicle, "thank God it had decent shocks," was going up and down, the driver skillfully manuvering the car along the shoulder, the soft ground better than the road, which though recently paved, was already bad off.
Where was CALTrans? Where are the Senegalese tax dollars at work? I was surprised to here about the length of the presidential term: 7 years, down from 12. I was like wow! again, the perfect length of time needed to really mess up a country, not that's hard to do here.
When one hears about no money for the infrastructure, it's a philosophical concept one can't really understand until you have taken a taxi drive from Rufisque to the Pink Lake or from Rufisque to Dakar. At night time, I don't know how the drivers do it; I had trouble walking as I tried to avoid large rocks in the road as I stepped off and on the sidewalk, which was an occasional thought along the road where cars and buses and motorcycles had the right-a-way.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I also went by a women's prison in Rufisque. I have to check is not getting permission to visit.
In the taxi sharing or carpooling, I told Muhammadou, a sister in the front seat had scarification on her cheeks and shoulders. I hadn't see this before on anyone outside of immigrants to America. I know people at home who have slight marks, but hers were very noticeable on her face, like dark brush strokes similar to a cat's whiskers.
Oh, one more thing, the cats and dogs and goats are so cute, especially the cats. I just love seeing them and they are so friendly. I asked Muhammadou if the goats knew they were going to be food and he smiled and said that in some families the goats are pets and the family goes to the market to buy a goat for halaling.
Today through next week in Rufisque people with horses were able to get them shoed and checked out. Rufisque is a race track town. Where the kids were exercising was also the place where the horses raced.
I also saw a YMCA in Rufisque and a Youth Center. Along the road on the fence outside a school there was the a poster announcing a day to get tested for HIV and get information. Pretty progressive. In the cabs it was cool hearing the latest from Youssou N'Dour and D'RAJE. It helped to have a friend who likes good music too and could tell me who was on, not that I needed an announcement for N'Dour.
I watched TV at Muhammadou's. His lovely wife after getting up early to get the kids off, fix meals, and hang clothes was cooling down when her husband and I returned after our day long excursion. The TV usually turned to music videos was playing another great tund by Gaby(?), when I guess it was that time and she switched the channel to a soap (opera).
The coffee was consumed and the other ladies watched the show as well. Even without the language, I could still tell what it was about, if not why the prisoner killed her cell mate. The next show with a guy in a hospital bed messing around with the doctor, was a little harder to follow. This one was shot in Brazil.
Everyone speaks French. There was even a rerun of Half and Half, the old sitcom about the twins separated at birth and raised by their birth mother separate from their birth father, then the two happen to meet and so a show is born. But if I'd had language, I would have asked the women, where the Senegalese soaps were and/or shows. I know films are made in Senegal, the father of African cinema, Osmane Sembene is Senegalese--so go figure why TV would be filled with their European faces.
Earlier when little Oulimata shared breakfast with me. She had bread and milk, I noticed her doll--white skin, not a rich ebony like her own.