Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some cool new things.

We have been adjusting better and better each day to our new home. The humidity is getting less and less and that makes for much more comfortable days. We have been drinking A LOT of water, despite what some of you may have thought, we have only had a little soda since arriving here. However, while we are talking about soda, Scotty found this Mountain Dew that he thought was interesting, he said it almost tasted the same.
In other news, Herma got another pet, this time a pelican. The way it happened was that one of the monkeys needed money, so he offered to sell Herma his pelican. We asked if it was common for people to keep pet pelicans, Herma said this is the first she has heard of, so this is just as odd here as it may be back at home.

The pelican's name is Tony, but the monkeys call him Kupp. He got the name because some of the guys noticed that Americans were always saying "kupp" (come) to animals, so they figured that was a good American name. We think he is a young pelican, he's super social and gets real scared when you pet him, starts to shake, poor little guy. He eats a fish a day and he has a real sweet face.

Scotty is developing more and more relationships with the boys. The last couple of days he has been working with Aziz, who is the drum maker. Scotty has been learning how to stretch the skin over the drum head, pretty cool (and sweaty) work. The boys give Scotty a hard time because he sweats A LOT more than they do...come to think of it, they really don't sweat.

Here Scotty is tightening the skin over the head. Djibi is helping him.

Here Scotty is putting the finishing touches on tightening the drum head by pounding down the top ring, after this he scraped the skin to get all the hair follicles off. Aziz is supervising, while buffing an almost done drum.
Jenna, this is for you. We eat most of our meals communal style. Which means one dish, several spoons, think of a mini buffet where you share the serving dish with 8 other people. It's actually a really cool method because if you push something into another persons area that is a compliment for them, so if someone pushes something in your area and you don't really want to eat it, you just pass it on to someone else and you are being really nice. The food is real tasty, I am learning how to cook from Nia, one of the ladies that Herma hires to cook for the crew.

Miss you guys, thanks for the comments and the updates on the blogs. We love catching up on home.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kevin and Fiona have since left Senegal, but we are still recouping from our time traveling with them around Senegal. Our adventures took us from small villages where there are no tourists to full on tourist attractions, both full of history and color.

Marilyn, Scotty and Kevin are separating the seed from the flower. The flower is used for tea/juice and also good in baking, kind of tastes like rhubarb.

We spent some time in the villages with MaryAnn and Marilyn where Kevin taught some basic business principles to individuals involved in their micro-loan program. We visited several farms and individual’s homes who had participated in the program with great success. A Senegalese woman walking home between farms. The rainy season just ended so everything is VERY green, we are told it will not stay this way for long.

People are VERY generous in Senegal. Many of the people we met with tried to give us part of their crop. It’s amazing to see how in a land where it’s so draining to do anything, or grow anything people are so giving.

In contrast to the villages, we went to the famous Goree Island, where many slaves were held before their voyage across the ocean. The buildings on the island are beautiful, which is a somber contrast to the sad history of this island. Here we are walking around the island with Kevin and Fiona. Despite being a tourist attraction, many parts of the island are quiet as we were allowed to freely roam and explore the island. Here Kevin is harassing a street vendor...he did eventually buy the pants.

Here we are in the slave house on Goree Island.

Probably the most sobering was the actual slave house. There was something eerie about walking to “the Door of No Return”. I can’t imagine the finality of being separated from Scotty as many were separated from their husbands and children.

Lots more to come. We miss you guys but are having a great time.


Scotty and Crystal

Friday, October 24, 2008

still plugging away

Hey guys, sorry for the long delay in a post. We have been super busy traveling with the Kikers. There's a lot to report on, most of which you can probably just get the gist from reading Kevin and Fiona's post, but I will try to add some more pictures and stuff soon.

One of the places we stayed was a mission house on the beach. It was a great time of relaxation and playing.

Here is Crystal and Fiona, doing dishes.
After doing dishes we all went to the beach and played. Scotty is at the fence at the back of the property, you can see how close the beach is...right there.
We also did some walking around the neighborhood, this is a gate or garage door that was decorated pretty nice.
There was a cool reused materials art gallery that we stopped by.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How to build your own African four poster bed complete with mosquito net.

So this is a little bit out of order, but I wanted to share with you guys a home decor/home improvement project Scotty and I completed using materials just laying around the grounds.

It all started when we were getting eaten by mosquitoes at night while we were sleeping. So we got a net from Herma to put over our bed.

This is a step by how to guide, in case you need to make your own:

Step 1: Cut 4 pieces of bamboo to 6 or 7 feet long.
Step 2: With a machete, remove all the extraneous branches from bamboo poles.
Step 3: Secure bamboo poles to four corners of bed.
Step 4: Secure mosquito net to four poles.
Step 5: Take picture of your finished product. Martha Stewart eat your heart out.

Since putting up the net, we have experienced less bites, which is always a good thing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Road to Ker Soce

Kevin and Fiona got into town. They have been spending the last month traveling around Africa. We have spent the last several days exploring Senegal with them as our guides.

The pool area and restaurant at the hotel in Ker Soce.

The first night we spent in Ker Soce (Kursosa). We stayed at what used to be a really nice hunting lodge. I’ll post videos soon. It looked like the owners went back to France and the huts AKA hotel rooms, took quite a beating during the rainy season. While there we were blessed with a storm, there was thunder and lightning and rain, which was a nice break from the heat.

While in Ker Soce, we stopped by the school that Dox put the basket ball hoop up on their trip last spring break. They are building more rooms for the school and this last year the Ker Soce school received the highest marks of all the Senegal schools.

Scotty and Kevin checking out the new school construction.

All around the school are many villages that all send their children to Ker Soce for school. It’s been amazing to see the difference in the housing from brick buildings in Malika, where we live, to concrete reinforced huts around Ker Soce.

An example of a hut village.

Also because of all the rain everything is green, which paints a much different picture of Senegal life. Everything is so new to us that there are always new novel things to share, these are just a few of the many interesting things we saw on the road to Ker Soce.

Public transportation on the road to Ker Soce.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Po-Po's and French keyboards

Hey guys,

We are traveling around Senegal with Kevin and Fiona. Sketchy internet and French keyboards, we will post more when we can. Remind me to tell you about our run in with the local police, don't worry we didn't get in trouble; but it's a funny story.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Arie of our own.

So this post is mainly for 2 people (or couples). If you have been following our friends Ray and Sarah you will have noticed they just posted pictures of their pet turtles in Japan. We also have two pet turtles, so I thought I would post a picture of the turtles, well actually only one, I didn't have time to wait for the other one to get into the picture.

The name of the turtles you might be asking? Well, they have the same name, appropriate, because let's be honest, it's hard to tell turtles apart..their names are Arie, just like Baby Arie, only Baby Arie will not let you jump on his back and carry you around the grounds, unless you guys have taught him a new trick since we left, Kurtis and Jessica.

Oh, Arie is about 2 1/2 -3 feet across, give or take.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dakar and the Beach

A few days ago, we took a trip to the capital city of Dakar. It is about an hour drive by car. Here we are with Downtown Dakar in the background. The roads are actually much better than I expected, most of the roads we use to get to Dakar are paved and those that are not are in pretty good shape considering they are dirt and they just finished their rainy season. Here is a typical paved road.

Dakar is the capital city of Senegal (downtown Dakar above), it has about twice the people as Portland in half the space (give or take). While in Dakar we accidentally bumped into a friend of Herma’s who is nurse with a local mission. We were planning on getting our vaccinations from her to save money but she told us about a local clinic that is safe and cheaper and extremely close. So, we impromptu got half of our vaccinations on the spot. The whole process took about 20 min. Just to give you an idea of how much we saved, had we gotten these same vaccinations in the states they easily would have cost us $400-$800 EACH. We spent the equivalent of $50 US for the BOTH of us, how great!!! We will get the rest of our vaccines next month and it should be a similar cost (and savings).

One of the neighborhoods on the drive back to Malika.

A nice perk of living in Malika is that we are VERY close to the beach. We have gone 3 or 4 times since we got here, it is amazing. The waves are perfect to play in but not so big that they are too scary, though I have heard that they can be. We are usually the only ones playing in the water, there are usually a handful of Senegalese fishing on the shore. So far, we have seen a small sting ray and a descent sized crab.

Another fun activity that we have been able to be a part of is daily volleyball games. The Monkeys LOVE volleyball and play almost everyday. It’s been a great way to have fun and break down some of the communication and cultural barriers, we are also learning to count...in French.

We are adjusting well, though we still have a long way to go.

Much love, more to come,

Scotty and Crystal

Friday, October 10, 2008

Videos...check em out

Hey guys,
We will be adding videos via youtube to our side bar.
Check out our newest one, it's a walking tour of our house, just in case the pictures weren't good enough.

More to come,
Scotty and Crystal

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Our new home.

Today was our third day in Senegal. Already we know how to ask “What do you call this?” (Lee nocka le tudd) and point to something. We also know a acknowledgement greeting which you say befoAlign Centerre you enter a group or someone’s house (Salome malikoom) , “thank you”.(jury jeff) and “your welcome” (nunca buck).

We are settled into our new home, which doesn't take much when all you have is a suitcase or two, but here are some photos of the inside as well as the surrounding property.
Here is our house from the outside.
From inside looking back at the front door, that is our kitchen on the right.
Looking further left from the entryway, this is our living room.
The door to the left of the couch in the above picture goes up to the roof, where we hang our cloths to dry.
Our bedroom.
Our little office in our bedroom.
This is the beautiful view from our desk.
Back in our living room, Scotty is working on getting things working with the computer.
Here is our bathroom.

We also have a washer, which is broken at the moment, but Scotty is working on getting that fixed.

Now for the OUTSIDE:

These three huts are just outside of our house. A few of the Monkeys live in one together.
Here is one of the many bugs in Senegal, this one is only the size of a dime.
There is a citron tree just outside of our house.
A banana tree behind our house.
Looking from our house back towards the front of the property where Herma's house is. The little shack is an outdoor shower.

We were spoiled our whole first day because we had electricity ALL day. Since then we have only had electricity in the evening, but none during the day. This is good and bad, good because we have electricity to power the fan in our room (no AC) and bad because the boys (hereafter referred to as the Monkeys) are unable to work on most of their projects because they have no power.

Things are going really well and we are slowly starting to make some friendships. There is a lot of staring, especially from younger children, but the stares soon turn to smiles with a little persistence.

More soon.

Love, Scotty and Crystal