Continuation of my former college roommate Nazim Ansari’s 10 day trip to Africa.
By Nazim Ansari
April 11; Dakar, Senegal
It was all worth it. The “rudeness” I faced in Casablanca, flight delays, hurdles that I personally had to overcome to make this trip were all worth today’s experience.
To see Africa and its people and just seeing Senegal has been great for me. It is an absolutely beautiful city in both location and scenery. Dakar,Senegal is the farthest point West in Africa right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and it’s the closest point west to the US.
The water and beaches are beautiful and I had no idea my hotel was right on the water because we checked in after midnight. When I woke up to a view of the water I was amazed.
We had another long full day, touring Senegal from the city to the countryside. Riding through town (especially in the market place) it was so dense it makes NYC look like Wasilla, Alaska. Not that it has more people, but the shops cars and people are packed in and they sell/trade everything.
I didn’t see any traditional grocery stores though I’m sure there are a few. I also learned that it is rude not to negotiate with the people who are selling things. They purposely give a high price, because it’s their culture not to go for just the money, but they are looking for the interaction and opportunity to communicate with you. If you just take the first price it’s somewhat of an insult because they view it as “rich American” who thinks he’s better and can take it at any price. So they are master negotiator, and I had to learn that quick and hard…but very fun.
Just to look, see, and communicate with people, who have so little material wise but so much faith, dignity, strength, character and kind hearts, makes me reflect on my character. The Senegalese people are so happy to see us (Blacks from America) and they are constantly saying welcome home once they find out you are from US.
They are extremely conscious of our history and what happened to us and to them. After touring the city and shops we went out to remote villages passing through miles and miles of houses and shops. It was like a neighborhood, but all in one long row.
We made it to the Pink Lake that is actually pink due to the the amount of salt, bacteria, and fish. It has so much salt that it is similar to the Dead Sea. You can almost float in it. We also visited several remote and small villages, where the people truly live a rural life (no plumbing but they do have electricity). The values are strong and The Chief of the Village took us around to show us their school, etc.
They live truly like a community, and instead of biological binds, they are bound by community, for births, deaths, marriages, food, shelter, etc. They look out for the village and not the family. I really respected the government’s involvement with the poor and homeless.
The government purchases 2nd items from Europe and setup a traveling market where the poor can sell those items free of charge to earn a living. In other words, if the people want to work, the government is willing to help to make their conditions better.
So many pictures to chose from, here are a few;
1. In front of Presidential Palace (White house) with Guard
2. Market place jam packed
3. Local bus with men hanging off back. The man in red on the back is the “conductor” who communicates with driver at all times, letting him know what’s happening behind him because the buses are normally crowded.
4. Senegalese sand artists creating beautiful sand paintings out of the seven different sands of Senegal..before picture
5. Young lady carrying the water on her head.
6. Children from village interacting/teaching hand games to children from US