Sights of Senegal
On our final drive to the airport I was staring out the window just trying to take it all in. The sights that had been new to me at the beginning of the adventure, had become a normal part of my everyday experiences. There was so much to experience visually that I found myself keeping my camera out at all times, even when riding in a car or bus, because I was trying to capture everything new and fascinating to me. While the following sights are in no way a complete list of the wonderful and exciting things that continuously caught my eye, I will always remember these sights of Senegal!
Outside of Dakar, the baobab tree was a constant fixture of the view from our car. They rise up from the ground and dot the landscape wherever you look. During our visit to Bandia Reserve we saw one of the oldest in Senegal and even had the chance to taste the fruit of the baobob tree. Much of the artwork that was for sale in the markets prominently featured the tree and if I had been able to, I would have purchased one of the larger paintings to always remind me of my time here.
In Diass, as in many areas of Senegal, most of the residents do not have access to refrigeration, which means that they buy the food they will eat that day and no more. Without storage, the daily trip to the market becomes a morning ritual performed by most women. The main street of Diass is lined with stands and tables covered in fresh fruit, nuts, and fish. It is an amazing site to behold.
The streets of Dakar are usually jammed with cars and the “car rapides” are jammed with people, many of whom hang off of the back or onto the sides. This is a regular means of transportation for many people and I love the bright colors of the bus.
The vivid colors, the wonderful geographic patterns, the skillful head wraps. These are the images I have in my head of the Senegalese people. Even my students came to school in the most amazing outfits. One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the tailor and having an outfit made. I even had clothes made for my kids that they love. I talk more about the clothes in this blog post about the fashion show in Diass. Check it out!
One can see pickup games of soccer everywhere. The beach. The street. At school. The love of soccer is strong and is something that bonds the Senegalese together. Never was that more apparent than during the World Cup this summer. This article talks about the energy and spirit of the Senegalese soccer team and their fans.
Orange Phone Booth
These cell phone booths are everywhere, in cities such as Dakar and along rural roads, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I find the dichotomy fascinating. That you can be in a place that lacks such things as consistent electricity and paved streets, yet you can buy a sim card and data by the side of the road.
Cashews. Hat racks. Carpets. Shoes. These are just some of the things sold to people as they are driving around on the street. It is part of life in Dakar. Most of the things you might need to purchase can be bought without getting out of your car.
A culture of exercise is pervasive in Senegal. I was impressed with the number of people running and working out in groups along the Corniche (the name of the main stretch of the beach road in Dakar). There are public parks with tons of equipment and they are packed with people, especially in the hours just after the work day. It was common to see huge masses of runners, a group yoga class, or someone performing timed sprints on the beach.