Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tribute to the brave souls

A lot has happened since I last wrote, and I promise to get caught up eventually, but first I wanted to write this blog as a tribute to the brave souls who came to visit me over the summer! Daniel Pluth, Tom and Karen Casavant, Libby Casavant and Megan Cochrane.

I’ve often thought how much I like living in Dakar, except for the fact that its so far away from all the people I love and wish I could be close to, but aside from the obvious joy it brought me to see friends and family after being apart for 6 months, there were a few other thing I gained from the experience:

First, I get to revisit and hone my skills as an adventure tour guide. You have just to ask one of my visitors to confirm that visiting Senegal is different than your average vacation- I guarantee they each have their own horrifying survival story to tell. Its actually crossed my mind that I could make good money organizing tours in Senegal now that I have the connections and experience. The tagline would read something like: “Have your African Adventure- horrifying bus ride included at no extra charge!”

Second, I have become an excellent translator! Each of my visitors made a valiant effort to speak both French and Wolof while they were here, but there was some translating needed. In conversations with my friends and host family, I really enjoyed being able to bridge the communication gap and in doing so bridge the space between my life in the US and my life in Senegal! I love that now, when I’m missing someone from home, I can talk to my Senegalese friends about it and they actually know who I’m talking about! Vise versa, when I return to the US it will be so nice to have some people that understand who and what I’m missing back in Senegal.

Finally, the great thing about having guests is that you have an obligation to visit and do all the interesting and touristy things that you might not do on your own time. Having four different guests really pushed me discover new areas of Dakar and Senegal.

Like the hidden waterfalls of S├ęgu

the birds-eye view of Dakar from the fez atop the largest copper man in the world (Statue de la Renaissance)

the wildlife preserve isle de la Madeline via the dodgiest boat ride I’ve ever had

and an island in the Sine Saloum where Muslims, Animists and Christians live together as harmoniously as the sacred Baobab which has literally become one with two trees!

Each one of these things I can honestly say I would not have done if I hadn’t had such adventurous and adaptable guests! Thank you all for coming to visit!!!

1 comment:

  1. Kayla -- Thanks for the great blog, but more importantly for the great work you are doing there. I know from being there with you just how much everyone appreciates your hard work and sacrifice on behalf of the Senegalese. Can't wait to have you back here in the cold and snow. - Dad