Blogs from Foundiougne, Fatick Region, Senegal, Africa


Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne November 6th 2006

Photos that slipped through I'm sat in WAAME's office in the suburbs of Dakar, trying to agree final expenses and taking advantage of the high speed internet connection while they discuss budgets amongst themselves in true Senegalese style - I could be here some time ! I've just realised that there are many images of Foundiougne I haven't posted so thought I'd do this one last pictorial blog from Dakar. The photos show the old, new, beautiful and ugly sides of Foundiougne. Next blog will be from Malawi but I'm really not sure how good access to the iternet will be. Bill at Njaya Lodge was talkig about setting up a high speed link but not sure how far he will have got with that in the past 8 weeks. It may mean a weekly trip ... read more
Baobab 2
Happy Waving Crabs
Tidal Flats

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne November 3rd 2006

Farewell Foundiougne I have one full day left in Foundiougne. It’s been nearly seven weeks since I rolled into town full of enthusiasm and energy. There have been times where the weeks have felt like months as I’ve struggled to understand conversations. But there have been times when I’ve felt a real fondness for the town and I will be sad to say goodbye to some of the friends I have made here. I’ve been invited into many aspects of the town’s life that most of the visiting tourists would never see. Just the other morning, I found myself at the baptism ceremony for the nephew of WAAME’s Director, eating “Lakh” (A kind of warm millet porridge with cinnamon, raisins and soured milk), watching the cutting of a small lock of the baby’s hair and then ... read more
What a send off
Oh my gourd !
Les batteurs d'Ousmane

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne November 1st 2006

La Lutte “La Lutte” has several meanings in French - it’s often used to signify a “struggle” or “fight”, as in “the fight against poverty”. When it comes to traditional wrestling though, La Lutte surely has to mean the struggle the largely female audience has to contain itself. Picture in your mind those well-screened images of screaming women (and men), beating their own heads in hysteria as John, Paul, George and Ringo played inaudibly on a stage in the middle of a stadium somewhere in the states. Now dress the audience in colourful sparkling robes and dresses and dim the lights to near darkness. Add a deafening rhythm from 10 drums, strip the Beatles down to their underpants (no, actually take off their pants and give them some hot pants and a thong), put them on ... read more
Warm Up

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne October 23rd 2006

The End of Ramadan Korité is the second biggest day in the calendar for Senegal’s majority Muslim population. Also known as Eid Al Fitr, Korité marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan - a month of fasting and prayer which needs to be carefully and sensitively considered when running a four week training programme that coincides exactly. Training schedules have to be weighted towards theory, thought and discussion in the mornings, breaks have to be planned to coincide with prayer times and the afternoons given over largely to practical and stimulating stuff. The lack of materials meant that too many afternoons were used to discuss how the group could organise themselves and heads slowly headed towards the table tops. So, at 8pm on Sunday evening, the nation was crowded around TVs and radios, waiting ... read more
Tuck In
Me and the Mars
Little Miss Mbayang

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne October 19th 2006

Sunshine At Night “Soleil Pendant La Nuit?” (Sunshine At Night?) was just one of the posters we put up around Foundiougne's market place early on Tuesday morning before the traders arrived. Tuesday is the town’s weekly market and the road outside WAAME’s Centre De Resources is always packed with people, overloaded buses and carts, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs and hungry looking horses - skin hanging off their hips like a heavy jumper off a wire coat hanger. With only a handful of actual “products” to show people (materials have been and continue to be stuck at Dakar Airport since the 29th September), I set the group a mini-project of planning, organising and holding a public education day to raise awareness of the group itself (who have now called themselves “FES” - “Foundiougnoise de l’Energie Solaire”), of ... read more
Heavy Load
Sunshine In A Cupboard
Solar Toons

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne October 14th 2006

A Storm In A Pirogue My first truly free weekend since arriving in Senegal and I was really excited at the prospect of getting out on the water in a Pirogue, the long narrow motorised canoes which have hit the news recently as desperate people make desperate efforts to reach the Canary Islands. Our pirogue was designed to carry 20 people but felt amazingly unstable with just ten. The ones tackling the Atlantic storms can hold 40 but are often crammed with almost double that number and end up breaking their backs in the Atlantic swells. A beautiful sunny morning with the prospect of a boat trip and replanting an area of devastated mangroves with local villagers - perfect start to the weekend. As we strolled through town to meet the “Piroguier” I could feel the ... read more
Sunny Start
Storm On The Horizon
Time to hide the camera

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne October 10th 2006

There’s more to life than goats I’ve been a “resident” of Foundiougne since the 16th September - Two and a half weeks doesn’t make me a fully fledged resident I know but it’s enough for me to start feeling a bit more involved in the town and slightly less obsessed by the weather. It’s long enough for me to know the difference between two different types of Thiebu Dien (The “National Dish” comprising some kind of fried fish, rice of one of two colours, a mixture of obscure vegetables and the all important tamarind sauce which gives it the unique taste - I love it). Actually 3 types of Thiebu Dien if you include the one played on the “Tam Tams” Yes, I’ve found myself a drumming teacher. Ousamane is actually the towns Maitre Batteur which ... read more
Oooooooh Yeaaaahh
My Gaff

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne September 26th 2006

An Introduction To Teaching It wasn’t a good start. A weekend in Dakar to try and find some music and dancing turned into a 5 hour journey in a stress position crammed into an “Alham”, exhaustion, headache, fever, chills and an early night. Decided to see a doctor in Dakar as I had some classic malaria symptoms (and my legs had been completely perforated by mosquitoes in my first week). Dakar on a Sunday morning on the first day of Ramadan was eerily quiet - none of the hassle I had expected and no real need for the padlocks on my pockets. Fortunately I had a bout of flu and a chest infection. Unfortunately I felt like crap and saw almost nothing of Dakar other than my hotel room. The eve of the training and I ... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne September 22nd 2006

Life with the goats I’ve been in Foundiougne for 5 full days, 3 of them with no electricity, which is ironic since I’m here to teach a group of youngsters how to build, market and sell small solar panels for powering radios, charging mobile phones and charging small LED lamps. Funny, but the first thing people worried about when the power went off was how they would charge their phones if the power cut lasted longer the 1 day “advertised” by Senelec one day before pulling out the fuse. I told Jean-Pierre to take note - big market there for the group once we get started. A big advantage of total power cuts is the night sky. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, not even in the mountains of Italy or California. As Ramadan approaches ... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Foundiougne September 20th 2006

Humidity If you could see this intense humidity the way you can see a dense freezing fog solidify the air on a cold January morning, you wouldn’t be able to see past your elbows. The air has a density that seems to block your pores, fills your nostrils, your lungs, your eyes, your ears and your mouth. Your eyes, if they could penetrate the hot fog, would see a thick cloud of chocking black smoke streaming from the trees, bushes and turgid grass. The flowers belch out their chocking dampness all around you, cleverly disguised with gentle perfumes. There is water everywhere. From my face to the horizon in all directions, from my feet to the tops of the anvil clouds towering above me, pressing down on the saturated air until curtains of dark rain wrap ... read more

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