Week 1: Tour of Europe and first impressions
Lost in Lisbon
Sadly, our journey in Senegal did not start on Friday, as we originally intended. Due to some issues at the Lisbon airport we did not catch our connecting flight to Dakar. However, it did gave us the opportunity to discover Lisbon with a small, albeit unexpected citytrip!
Made it to Senegal!
Luckily, a solution was eventually found to get us all to Dakar after all. Emma and Lise travelled on Monday via Madrid and Paris to Dakar, and the next day Maxim and Cas travelled via Geneva and Paris. Our luggage, which also include the induction cookers for our project, did unfortunately not arrive with us in Dakar yet. In the meantime we could count on the Senegalese hospitality (le téranga) from Daha and his family (he is our guide and partner throughout our journey). We have already thoroughly enjoyed the Senegalese kitchen and their eating habits.
Visit to Ndalla
Although we are not yet able to start with our project, we did get a chance to visit Ndalla, the village where we will be staying for the bulk of our trip. After a somewhat bumpy ride over the sometimes uncompleted national roads, we arrived in Ndalla. Here, we visited the pump and the solar panels which are part of the installation already placed there and which we will monitor. We got our first real look at the installation, how it works and the people who maintain it. Further in the village itself (that consumes the water of the pump and the water tower) we were introduced to our guest family and we got to take a first look of the room in which we will be staying for the next two months most of the time. Our arrival also attracted a lot of interest from the local youth.
After these first 5 days in Senegal, we unfortunately still don’t have our baggage. We are, however, keeping our hopes high! Daha and his family were very kind to lend us some of their clothes in the meantime.
This weekend, Tabaski will take place, this is the Senegalese word for Eid al-Adha (Offerfeest). Size-wise, it’s comparable to Christmas. Daha has invited us to celebrate Tabaski with him and his family so we will get to experience the festivities authentically. Tabaski involves the ritual sacrifice of a sheep, so consequently, every street and every corner are dotted with sheep for people to buy. Daha already bought a sheep that is stationed in his backyard that he will sacrifice at Tabaski, the question remains if we can bare to look at it or not.
After Tabaski, we hope that our luggage will be found. When we go to the airport to collect them, we will also visit Dakar to buy the right pots and pans to use on the induction cookers. When we have collected all the materials, we can then head to Ndalla and kick off our project properly!
Lise, Emma, Cas and Maxim
or, since we were each given a Senegalese name,
Safiëtou, Aïda, Papzal and Cheiriff