Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fun in Foundioune

Last week

The teachers went on a small vacation and, since we had nothing better to do in M’boro without the teachers around, we went with!

The bus picked us up at 6AM Tuesday and we were off to southern Senegal. Again, I love driving through places. Even though stopping and visiting would be better, you can still get a little bit out of watching the change of the landscape and lifestyle. A few hours later we got to the ferry which took us to our destination. It wasn’t an island but we needed to cross a river to get to the tiny town we were staying in.

The place wasn’t that much different than where I live now – small town, not a lot going on – except that there were not only goats all around but also a lot of pigs. This surplus meant that we got two for about forty dollars – good deal. Meals don’t generally have that much meat, but vacations and celebrations are all about eating as much as possible and splurging on good food. We had pork sandwiches for breakfast, pork, sauce and millet for lunch, fried pork over an onion cucumber and fried potato salad for dinner. Of course, this was all eaten from a few large platter and mostly with your hand. Meals here are very communal.

Both afternoons we went swimming in the brackish river, which is supposed to be where the salt water and fresh water mix but it seemed even saltier than the ocean. It’s always nice to take a refreshing swim and be covered in a thin gritty film. On the second day they had even arranged a short boat trip through the mangroves in that area. It was a pretty good ride, but someone needed to be bailing at almost all times since our vessel was a well-worn, Senegalese fishing boat, and one of the teachers started crying because she thought we were all going to drown – none of the teachers could swim.

The two evenings there were spent cooking late into the night, and then, after eating as much as possible, the teachers began to dance. Some of the music and dancing here seems to have no kind of rhythm, but maybe that’s just a white boy’s perspective, because the always manage to find the terminating beat. I just chose to save my dignity and stay out of it. The nights ended with about 20 of us on mats in one room, sweating far more than I ever want to again. They had cabins at the Catholic mission – cheap destination for a Catholic school – but they hadn’t been used in over two years and would have taken more work than it was worth – the mice won that battle.

Highlight of the trip: butchering the pig.

Life lesson: It is always good to find the articulation and make a clean cut around the bone, but when that doesn’t work, just hack through the bone with the machete – people gotta eat.

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