Monday, May 10, 2010

Days 6-7 in Africa

It's hard to believe I've only been here one week! I've learned so much and have grown so close to this country already, part of me feels like I was born Senegalaise and have lived here all my life. As I reflect on this past week, I can't help feeling a lot like Dorothy shedding the grays of Kansas for a very colorful OZ. Life before Senegal was very grisaille; I live in color now.

The colors in Africa are truly unbelievable. I feel like people in America are afraid of color, and Africans totally embrace it. Both women and men wear the most vibrant colored ensembles you've ever seen. We went to Sandaga market and were absolutely surrounded by color. We befriended Mouhammed, a young man nearly finished with his masters degree. He was kind enough to take us up to the rooftop of the market to the "restaurants" --small corrugated metal huts --where women wearing traditional dress and sporting some traditional jewelry stooped over steaming pots of couscous and yassa. We were able to get some nice photos and brief interviews with the women. It was a good vantage point from which to really see the hustle and bustle of the marketplace on the weekend.

Yesterday, we boarded a ferry and went to the beautiful Ile Goree. Goree is an island just off the Dakar coast which was used in early colonial days as a major slave trade port. After landing at the dock Dr. Johnson and I headed directly to the Women Museum--a museum that pays tribute to the wonderful women of Senegal. We were able to interview an older woman on the island who had many photos of herself, and members of her family, in traditional dress and jewelry.

For lunch we feasted on jumbo shrimp and Gambas (basically shrimp on steroids) outside at a restaurant just a few feet from the ocean. We spent the rest of the day exploring the island and finding out as much as we could about jewelry from the women we met.

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