Thursday, October 11, 2007

Toubab Diallio

I decided that I had become too reliant on other people to keep myself busy and interested, and that I was sick of the city, so a couple weekends ago, I took off - on my own for the first time - to a village about an hour and a half south of Dakar on "la petite cote." Toubab Diallio aka. Heaven in Senegal. To get there, I walked to the Colobane station (not really a station but a bunch of taxis on the side of the highway) and took a sept-place (station-wagon like car with 7 spots) most of the way. It dropped me off in the middle of the highway, at the intersection of the road that leads to the village. After close to three months in Dakar, being in the middle of nowhere was quite refreshing. I flagged down the first car that drove by and gave the driver the equivalent of 60 cents to take me the rest of the way.

Toubab Diallio is this beautiful quiet town along the water, mostly made up of fishermen and vendors who sell to the tourists. It's got narrow streets, lots of greenery and wonderful people! My plan was a get-away weekend where I would read, reflect, keep to myself.... but within 5 minutes of being there, I had plans for dinner and a handful of new friends.

That's what's so beautiful about Senegal. The people are just so social and ready to befriend you. I made friends with the women selling earrings and necklaces and did a little selling myself! I met a group of young girls on the beach who taught me to dance Senegalese style. And the first person I met on the island invited me to dinner with his friends!

Let me tell you about the dinner. I was at the beach playing soccer when some fishermen came in from their day's work. Villagers swarmed the boat, trying to get first crack at the fish. They scoop out the fish and bring them to the women on shore who buy them from the fisherman. The women clean them up a tiny bit, and then sell at the marketplace to the villagers. That night, I was one of those villagers. Moussa (a guy I met on the island) and I and some of his friends bought some fish and prepared a traditional meal from the Casamance, where Moussa is from (south of Senegal). The fish was cleaned and cut by hand, the rice was sorted by hand, the pepper ground by hand, everything fresh! It was amazing to see the fish come in and eat them the same night.

1 comment:

Still.Searching said...

Heba.. your report on Ramadan and Eid in senegal is overdue.. I am dying to know how it is celebrated over there, what was "neat" and what peculiar and what was downright stupid.

I realize your "blogger friends" are not into real blogging and refuse to comment on your postings :-( but I assure you everyone is reading and they keep commenting to me about it!!

P.S. i just found out today at the blood clinic that you will be barred from giving blood for 3 years because of ahving been in a malaria risk zone.. there is a limit to the good you are allowed to do in this world after all :-)