Friday, October 31, 2008

Buying Souvenirs

One day we went to the market area downtown to look for souvenirs. Tidiane had one of his friends come to our parked taxi to show us her jewelry.

The men in the background are the taxi drivers.

Even the dog has a necklace! The shell on the necklace is like the ones that were once used as Senegalese currency.

This drink seller was on the same street.

Tidiane was telling Sharron that prices here were too high. (The vendors see Americans and their prices go up by about 5X!) When Sharron stepped into a store, 5 or 6 people inside began telling her not to listen to the other sales people and to buy from them. They insisted the other salespeople were dishonest. When she left the store, they followed her into the next store, still trying to make a sale. It is so hard to concentrate on what you want to buy when so many people are vying loudly for your attention! Frustrated by the pursuit, we left the market area with very few purchases. Americans destroy the peace of the markets; it seemed vendors pushed and shoved so hard for business that we feared fights would break out.

We also went to an area where wood carvers work. It was fascinating to see how they did the carving by hand with very primitive tools and to see all of the products. One man splits the raw wood into smaller pieces to be worked by the other carvers.

Hatchets, gouges, hand saws and sandpaper turn out products that are amazing and beautiful. The carvers seem to work tirelessly in their seated positions that are flat on the floor. As we look at their products, the salesmen are relentless; they yell, "Hey Mama, Hey Papa" to barter and beg you to buy.

In the next picture you can see one of the woodcarvers sitting on the ground at the right.

We did not buy anything from the following "art gallery"!

The Senegal President's House

We went to see the Senegal President's house. As you can tell, it is a very large building with well-maintained grounds.

The following photos show one of the government buildings around the President's house. Notice the air conditioners in the pictures.

This is a French guard standing in front of one of the French buildings, maybe the French embassy. Senegal was part of France until 1960, and France still has a great presence in Senegal. The French maintain some military here.

We had only walked about 15 minutes from the government area till we got to this coast.

Here is a man mending his fishing nets.

More scenes around the same area---lots of contrasts!

In the midst of the beautiful surroundings on the coastline, there is a shack home nestled on the hillside that is so pitifully poor. Dirty and patched, the house stays open to the animals.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


With Dakar being surrounded on three sides by ocean, fishing is a natural industry. But the fishing that we have seen is all being done from very small and not-so-nice boats. Our reader Tidiane took the four of us to a fishing area. Following are pictures of that area.

The men in the next photo are coming into shore with their catch.

Does this look like a nice beach?

Just like children everywhere, these children are enjoying playing at the beach.

The rope swing in the following photo is attached to one of the boats.

Don't you love the smile with the missing teeth!

In the next photo the man is washing his goat.

Boats provide shade for goats and for men!

Following is a video of beach sounds, people playing in the water, and the horse cart from above almost running over Ron as he was taking the video! Some of the people that you will see in the video are French.

Ron looking at small fish swimming in and out of the rocks.

Sharron and Jane

A nice picnic spot??

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Village

The following are photos of N'Diaganiao village. It is located about two and a half hours by car over some primitive roads.
First is the dirt road from the village church building to the huts where the people live.

Notice the gourds growing on the roof of the next hut.

This young girl is grinding grain into flour. Almost all cooking and meal preparation is done outside the huts. The huts do not have windows or any type of ventilation. There is no electricity or running water in the village.

One of the ladies from the village church and Jan are standing beside a baobab tree.

The bark on the lower part of the tree has been removed to make rope. The rope is then used to tie bundles of millet or maize at harvest time. Notice the size of the giant root behind Jan.

This is Joseph's home. Arnold and Joseph are talking to Joseph's father about Joseph attending the preaching school. They are not in the photo, but some of Joseph's family members are in the photo.

This is Joseph's brother, Ernest. He has served in the military and is now home. He would like to attend a university, but he has no money. His English is excellent, and he seems to be a very bright young man. He expresses interest in preaching in a village someday.

Following is a picture of Ernest's donkeys. Evidently he had saved enough money while he was in the military to purchase the donkeys, valuable and useful animals in this village. Donkeys are used to pull carts if families cannot afford horses.

Two of these little girls are the sisters of Joseph and Ernest. We did not get a photo of the third son of the family.

These are more children from the village. They really wanted to get close to us, because white people are are real novelty in this village. They may have never seen white people up close before. They were excited to get their photos made and to actually see their images on the camera. When we were in the parked car, the children would crowd around the windows and stick their heads and arms inside! They speak no English, but notice the writing on one of the boy's shirts. Many products from the U.S. end up in Africa. There are at least two of these children who have swollen faces, maybe from tooth infections. There is no money for any kind of medical or dental care, so more than likely some of these children will not make it into adulthood.