Blogs from Fatick Region, Senegal, Africa


Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Sokone February 12th 2012

part iii of iv ...lutte is a lot about multitasking in Senegal, one needs to adapt early to sleeping, eating, reading, writing, watching t.v., dancing and conversing all in the milieu of ten other people doing any one or two of these activities as well. there is little peace and no concept of privacy or consideration of others' physical or psychological needs that i have seen or felt. for better or worse in Senegal, life goes on around you, and yours goes on around others. loudly. absently. (as for when sex happens, i am still wondering about this...). until today, i had only caught lutte at its extremes: a) on the beach - where there is no expectation that focus be given to one set of two tiny boys sparring amid the array of beach hullabaloo ... read more
gamou 2012; night of multitaskers
whacking waltz
djembe  jive

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Sokone February 12th 2012

part iv of iv ...lutte remixes the hi-tech and low-tech typical Senegal, there has been an accommodating of hi-tech into daily life, without total assimilation or even obvious leaning toward wanting to lead a hi-tech life. that is, tradition and african life live alongside the blackberry (at least for now). this lutte match was no different: a large generator kept the string of faulty bulbs glowing, along with a radio and speakers that were literally taller and wider than i. the dimly lit spectator benches had bright spots of cell phone luminescence. but to keep the mosquitos away? no sprays, no creams, no nets, no fancy t.v. advertisements about malaria or anti-mosquito products...but instead during pre-game, the field boys made small shell mounds, added sand on top, then a a few sticks, then lit a little ... read more
horse tech

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Sokone February 11th 2012

part ii of iv like other aspects of Senegalese culture... ...lutte is slow, builds momentum, and takes as long as it takes, and ends on an upnote the pre-game time, though soundtracked with booming stereo music, started with bare minimum of lights and people and energy...but the evening slowly built in momentum as one by one fighters showed up, the decibels on the stereo were turned up, field boys began their duties, spectators filed in. no one was rushing. and it took as long as it took for the fighters to show up and the matches to get going. and when it did get going, it was like no other frenetic energy i have ever experienced at a sports event. and the round between two fighers? takes as long as it takes....but those last few seconds, ... read more
travel clock, senegalese clock
maribou match
big brother maribou graffiti

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Sokone February 10th 2012

part i of iv 'lutte' is the highly acclaimed and deeply beloved Senegalese national sport – and is essentially a traditional form of wrestling... ...and considering i don't even like the western world version of lutte, my enthusiasm for attending a local match tonight was driven only by curiosity...and a desire to break through my aloof attitude towards something so important to a country I love. and that I did. i normally catch lutte on the beach. often towards sundown, boys and young men begin their very casual, definitely unrefereed matches. having never bothered to inquire with friends, i still have no clear idea of what goes, what doesn't go, and what is considered below the belt. once in a while, I catch the other extreme of lutte: very professional and definitely refereed. these major matches ... read more
casual beach lutte
the playing field
water boy

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region April 10th 2010

Just before Easter weekend I spent a few days out of Kaolack. First to Dakar for gathering of those here with IFESH (International Foundation for Education and Self-Help). There were several other things I had wanted to do, but those did not materialize. I had wanted to meet a few people and do some sightseeing. Instead I soaked in the environment and just enjoyed being there. I also went to stay with a friend in a nearby town. She was pretty busy and the accomodations were modest. Still I was able to attend Independence Day parade there. Very Cool. As long as I go with the flow, the final results are just fine. A vestige of colonialism is that Christian holidays are still observed in this Muslim country. Schools are closed for 2 weeks for Easter. ... read more
Elementary school marchers
Girls in parade
Majorettes from middle school

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region October 29th 2009

A Flat World I'm reading the book A Flat World which argues that technology and cultural developments have flattened the earth so there are no distances or differences in 21st century globalization. One family I have met exemplifies that. The woman is an English teacher who works for the ministry of education's regional office, training those teaching without formal teacher education. She has a teenage son who is a techy in a small town. He helped me with computer issues quickly and easily because I did not have Wee Fee (Wi-Fi in Americanese). The 11 year old daughter won a national spelling bee in Senegal and defended her title in Quebec. She wears skinny jeans with flashy teeshirts, is a voracious reader, plans to be a doctor. Obama-mania Yes, it is here too. People love to ... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region October 22nd 2009

Greetings Attitudes Louis Armstrong's song, "What a Wonderful World," says I see friends shaking hands, saying How do you do? but they're really saying I love you. When people get together here the hellos seem endless. They shake hands with all others at a bus stop. In a room full each new person shakes each hand and says "Ça va" (How you doin') 2, 3, 5 times. No medical report, just repeat. My take is that they are paying respects and show they take a moment for each one. People say hello ("Bonjour" or "Asalam aleikam") many shake hands, even kids with each other or to adults. My American self is refraining from thoughts of move on, already. There is a lot more than just a time zone difference. There is a different time-mind-set. Maybe it ... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region October 15th 2009

On their first trip to Africa many have used words about going back to the motherland. Strangely, to me it was fitting-- because Senegal is so much like Haiti, where I was born. The obvious similarities are tropical, busy, dark skins. Beyond that the architecture is very similar (houses have open brick work, fans, sherbet colors). The differences that struck me are that this is a flat country and there are many birds. In Dakar our hotel was next to a mosque. Speakers 5 times a day with prayers, noticeable, but not loud enough to wake me up. In the streets I am struck by variety. First in clothing. People wear everything. The Muslim influence is present but not overwhelming. The women are robed, veiled, in jeans, strapless dresses, and some capri type pants. Men are ... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Palmarin April 9th 2009

The travelblog website is murdering the video quality of the videos i post. This is an attempt to put some old flicks through third party hosting.... read more

Africa » Senegal » Fatick Region » Palmarin April 8th 2009

I’d been looking at this baobab tree for two days now. I have to admit I still carry with me a childhood desires to climb just about everything I see and since I’ve been here I’ve sought after no greater prize has than the massive Baobabs that dot the landscape. What caught my eye about this tree specifically, other than its immense size is I thought I could actually make it up. A little bit about baobab legend and anatomy: The back story goes that the baobab was the most boastful of trees. As punishment for its vanity God placed them upside down with their branches in the Earth and their roots stretching out to the heavens. At least that’s how the local people explain the uniquely awkward shape. From the tree climbing enthusiast’s perspective ... read more

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