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 missing...drive 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, then...phone 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.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama in Africa

Okay, so he wasn't actually IN Africa, but they LOVE him here. What they say on the radio is that with Obama as president it will make things better in Africa (ex. better roads, etc). It's very interesting to hear their perspective on how our president will effect them.

This is a poster that was up in a market in downtown Dakar. You can see these posters everywhere (this was taken before the polls closed). This was an interesting contrast because here is an American candidate poster up in a place that is so far away and so culturally different. What you can't see in the picture is the market place. It's so different than an American market, there are slabs of meat on the counter with flies and all. Right next to the meat is produce, fruit, vegi's etc.

It's amazing how in only one month (tomorrow) so many things that were foreign to us are now normal. What was once scary is not. It's amazing how quickly we are able to adjust. I wish you could all see this place first hand, it is amazing.

Love you all.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What's your name?

Yesterday Herma and I went to a Naming Ceremony. This is when a baby that is about a week old officially received its name. It was an amazing experience, this lady is the new mother. She was all decked out in her best cloths with her fanciest jewelry and REALLY fancy hair and make up.

I wish I could have taken some video because this was an amazing experience. It is only women and everyone comes dressed up in bright colors, complete with head wraps. Here I am with one of my new friends Nia, she is to the left of me. This is an example of how all the women were dressed. I felt a little foolish without a head peice (a head wrap served the same purpose as a wedding ring). There were about 100 women and it was LOUD. Traditionally, you bring gifts to something like this (kind of like a baby shower?). I guess it's kind of like the states in that most people bring gift cards AKA cash. After a while these two women got up and started chanting in a sing song way as they counted in front of everyone how much cash the new mother received. THEN...they all started singing and clamping and two different women got up in the middle of the circle and started dancing, it kind of looked a lot like a booty shake. It was a really cool experience and I am SO glad I got to participate in it a little bit. And I am SO glad I bought myself a boo-boo (traditional women's dress) that I could wear to the event.
Here I am goofing around with another young mother, you can barely see the baby tied to her back. As you can see, no baby tied to my back, they women thought this was pretty funny. To hear these women laugh is a great thing, they smile big and laugh loud, it's beautiful.

More to come.