Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh Christmas tree!!!

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We did it!!! We finally finished our tree. Now it feels like Christmas, good thing it's in four days!!! We will probably leave our tree up until after Fiona comes in January. She is bringing us some goodies from our families, so in a way she is kind of like Santa, eh?
The idea of the tree came as a prototype product for the boys to make to sell. Here Scotty is welding the tubing on that holds the candles.
The tree completely collapses and uses simple gravity/tension to hold on the branches.
It holds 16 candles, which are just as much for lighting (power cuts and all) as they are for atmosphere. As you can see here, it completely lights up our living room (or "sal bi" in Wolof).
Merry Christmas guys!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

our "snow"

It rained last night! This is as close as we will get to snow. It felt really weird, kind of like when it rains in the summer, not really cold, but rather kind of refreshing, you know?

Friday, December 19, 2008

day at the farm

Yup, we found a good ol' fashioned farm in Senegal. Check the tractor behind us!!!
Complete with the UGLIEST turkey I have ever seen, they lived through Thanksgiving.
And some nice roosters...
...and this tiny little duckling trying SO HARD to get some water.
Bye-bye farm animals...for now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

no snow for us...

So everyone is posting pictures about all the snow......well, we don't have snow but yesterday morning in the wee hours of the morning it got cool enough to justify a light sweatshirt...but even then I could only wear it for about 20 min.

Why were we up so early you might ask? Well, the 25 km to Dakar takes about 2 hours because of traffic so we were up early to beat the traffic...
...with Herma at the helm. Last time we posted about driving to Dakar we broke down...
..this time too, though luckily it was just a loose connection to the battery.
You know how you get your mail daily in the states? Because there is not a post office in Malika we go into Dakar to get our (Herma's mostly) mail. Check the cool vintage box.
After going to the post office, we got some bread. You can get baggets of bread daily in Malika, but if you want to go for the fancy stuff, AKA wheat bread, you get it once a week in Dakar.
We usually get split up from Herma while in Dakar, so we just go wait by the car when we are done...I think Scotty and Sandro look like my bodyguards...what do you think? (Check out Scotty's "authentic" RayBan sunglasses., Nice eh?
While headed out of downtown Dakar I found this guy carrying a silver and green fake Christmas tree...bring it.
Last pit stop...lunch with some Canadians. The boys found Shrek chess to play. Check out the Christmas decorations!!! This is the MOST holiday spirit we have seen yet. Made us feel right at home.

The Christmas tree Scotty and I have been working on is ALMOST done. I'll post as soon as it is.

Love you guys!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

scotty caught me

One of the things I appreciate/miss about the US is grounded outlets. Scotty caught me trying to change the song playing on the ipod. In order to do this I have to not be touching the ground or I get shocked every time.

Next time you change the song or radio station thank God that you don't have to have a chair nearby and whisper up a prayer for us.

Nearly at home in Malika,
-Scotty and Crys

Friday, December 12, 2008

farmers market...of sorts.

So everyday is Farmer's Market day in Malika. I went to the market to get some vegies for din-din and I came back with these. Market experience in Africa is SO SO different than Saturday mornings in Corvallis on the waterfront.

First on my walk to the market, which is about a 1/2 block from Herma's we had to walk around a dead sheep laying on the sidewalk. It looks like it had been about half butchered. (I thought about posting a picture, but then desided better of it). The Senegalese just celebrated Tabaski, which is a big holiday where every family buys a sheep and has a feast with it. Why this particular sheep didn't get eaten I don't know, but it made for an interesting start to the market-going-experience.

Then, once we got to the market (we, being Djibi and myself) I discovered that everyone was still celebrating Tabaski because the market was EMPTY.

Despite this I was pleased to come home with enough vegies to make two dinners, all of which cost me 250cfa or$0.50 USD. Pretty cool.

Oh, and the weird looking flower vegetable at the top of the photo is white bissap. It tastes like spicy/sour spinach. Lots of vitamins and really adds flavor to rice. And the pickle looking thing is just a cucumber.

Maybe next time I will take my camera so you guys can appreciate the full experience.

Lots of love!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

plays and monkeys

We went to a Christmas play...of sorts. It was David vs. Goliath. It was a fun kids play/musical put on by one of the Christian schools near Malika.
On our way back from the school we stopped by a wildlife park where we had made some contacts to distribute some of the Monkey's products. While there we were greeted by "Pumpba" a local wart hog.

And this monkey, who Herma named "Chris", funny.

The owners put sugar packets on the tables and the monkeys just come up on the tables and take them away, while tourists take pictures. I got a short video for Pete, because I know how much you love monkeys, not very exciting, but he's a cute monkey, eh?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday morning...

This morning I snapped a shot of what we look like as we head out the door for church. You will notice we are a tad bit more fancy than Dox church (thanks Nancy for sending Scotty new jeans). The Senegalese take pride in dressing nice for important occasions/events and church is one of these. They particularly pay attention to shoes, since we only brought flip flops we conveniently cropped our feet out of this picture. We have been told that we need to get some nicer shoes..I'm thinking "What, Chaco's don't cut it?"

This part is more for the ladies: you can get anything you want made here. When Fiona was here back in Oct. we got some fabric and took it to a tailor. I pointed to a picture in J.Crew and told the tailor I wanted that dress but longer. He took some measurements and 3 weeks later I had this dress. I figure the fabric cost $6 USD (Fiona correct me if I am wrong) and the tailor fee cost $10, not bad for a custom dress, too bad we can't do that in the states.

When we went to breakfast the boys told me "Rafet na" which means they liked my dress, they thought it was beautiful. And in case you are wondering about spagethi straps in Dec? Yes, it is THAT HOT STILL, though I did pull on a LIGHT sweatshirt last night as Scotty and I were sipping beer on our roof.

OH!!! And I saw a firefly last night too!

Not bad!!!!

Love you guys, keep the pictures flying, we NEED to see some Holiday sweaters...Jenn.....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sales people

In addition to helping make the products, we also get to help sell them. This is our sales table at a sale in Dakar. Scotty and Djibi are working it.

Taking a break from the chaos that is the-day-after-Thanksgiving-sale.

Monday, December 01, 2008

African Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We spent the day with a bunch of missionaries in Dakar. We celebrated with MOST of the traditional trimmings. One lady brought snowman cups for everyone, I guess she was already geared up for Christmas.While we didn't have turkey, we did enjoy a meal that was close, these are chickens, complete with neck and all.
More food.
Mingling with everyone, what you can't see is that most people are wearing shorts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...the boys will play

Here are just some fun pictures of the guys (and gals) playing around.
They take their football (not American football...the other kind of football) very seriously. Case in point they were given new cleats from Dany and this is how they celebrated...
...their idea, not ours.
Just hanging after some volleyball.

Friday, November 21, 2008

things we wish we had a camera for

Everything below is true and NOT exaggerated:

  • We were driving in rush hour and traffic on the "interstate" and traffic was down to one lane. When we got to the problem we saw that a semi-truck was broken down in the middle of the lane. We're not talking a flat tire here people, the entire back end of the truck was jacked up and the rear axel was to the front of the truck and we found the back axle. The "mechanics" were using the partition as a bench and were bench pressing the axle...seriously.
  • Also while driving on the "interstate", on two separate occasions we have been behind a truck or bus taxi with a roller skater/blader in tow, Marty McFly style. Meanwhile the free rider is waving and smiling at police while the police wave back as they pass by them on the side of the road. This was not stop and go traffic this was while going 80 km/hr (50 mph).
  • Everyone tells you, "things in Africa take more time". Case in point, yesterday we were driving to Dakar when the clutch went out on the truck. Here we are broken down, on the highway with two lanes, one way, concrete barriers on either side (no shoulder) about 10 km from home. We call Herma for help, battery dies. We sit, ON the highway from 8am-4:30pm waiting for the mechanic Herma called to come help. During this time several pedestrians stopped to help, one went home and got tools to work on the truck, he and Scotty crawl under the truck. It's not unusual to see feet sticking out from under cars on the highway, it IS unusual for those feet to belong to "toobaubs" aka white folk. After much trouble shooting they found what they THINK is the problem then proceeded to look for the broken part at 7+ stores, they came back with an off brand rebuilt kit and replaced the part, which then immediately broke when trying to bleed the clutch. We then sent Djibi to go into Dakar to buy a genuine part, about 2 hours after he leave, the mechanic showed up. There was a bit of a communication breakdown when the mechanic wanted to drive the truck back to Malika and we wanted to wait for Djibi to return with the replacement part. We finally convinced the mechanic to wait, once Djibi showed up he drove the truck back to Malika, through pedestrian crowded side streets all the time with NO CLUTCH....we had lunch at 5pm. And now the entire underside of the truck is disasembled .
Not all days are as exciting as these, sorry we don't have any pictures to go along with these, I know they are kind of hard to believe, but I promise they have not been exaggerated.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS carry your camera with you, you never know what your day will hold...especially in AFRICA!!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Our beloved pelican, Tony, died today. Apparently, he drank some water that was tainted with chemicals used on the skins for the drums...poor little guy. Herma is already talking of getting another one, but I don't know if Tony can be replaced. He was so social and sweet. Best pelican I ever swam with, hands down.

Rest in peace, little buddy. You will be missed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

...home is???

One of our favorite things to do here is walk to the beach. We usually do this in the evenings because the heat factor. One resent evening, the sunset was especially beautiful. I know pictures don't do justice, but I wish you guys could see this. The ocean is a nice break from the city or village because it doesn't feel as dirty or as hot. Granted by Oregon standards there is A LOT of garbage on the beach, but you take joy in the little things. It's SO nice to walk and have the fresh breeze, not at all like Oregon beaches where the wind is so strong ig blows you over and it's FREEZING. It's STILL hot enough to go swimming or boogie boarding in the ocean, something Scotty is taking a liking to.

There's been a lot going on and I will post more soon, but for now just know we are feeling at home and encouraging one another and despite being at peace here we still miss you guys!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We can make stuff.

One of my favorite things about being here is the space for creative freedom. Every winter I am inspired by people like Ruby and Jenna, who whip out the yarn and needles and make stuff. Often in our fast paced society I think that art such as that is lost because we simply don't have time.

Here, it's totally different.

The boys are REALLY good at what they do, and Scotty and I are learning a ton. One of the cool things is that we are new here and every time I see the boys make a product I think about some of the other possible products that could be made.

Here are some products that Scotty and I made start to finish. The cool thing about ALL these products is that we both did stuff on them--it wasn't one person doing all the work (though Scotty did a lot, because the table saw is LOUD) but it was more of a team effort.

Hope you enjoy.

Simple ebony earings
Ebony salt and pepper shakers
Bamboo vase

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lots of learning

We are busy everyday with learning new things. So many things it's hard to keep track of it all. Two things in particular is the Wolof language:We have a GREAT tutor who we meet with everyday. He speaks English, Wolof, French and probably others.

Another think we are learning is how to cook.
Crystal has made friends with one of the cooks, Nia. It is a great opportunity to practice Wolof and learn how to make authentic Senegalese dishes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Things that are normal

Scotty, Sandro (Swiss guy here for 4 months) and Djibi playing in the pool.

So I just realized the other day that it's NOVEMBER. My whole gauge of time has been completely thrown off. Usually November means, jackets, rain and OSU football. You understand how I could be confused when my daily routine includes taking a dip in the pool and the idea of a t-shirt sounds WAY too hot.

So, what is normal for us?Playing with Tony the pelican.
Exploring beached fishing boats at the Malika beach.
Watching Djibi catch tiny fish BY HAND to feed to Tony.