My parents’ action-packed two weeks in Senegal:

They arrive in Dakar at 6:30am. After a brief stop at my homestay’s house for breakfast, we head to Ile de Goree for what is definitely the best way to experience Dakar:

Paul on Goree

The next day we went up to St-Louis, where we stayed/ate at a fantastic hotel/restaurant on the island and took a day trip to the Djoudj bird park. There we took a boat ride to see a massive pelican colony. It was kinda like being in the middle of a personal screening of Winged Migration:

pelicans in flight

We also wandered around St-Louis itself, a very chill, beautiful in a crumbling colonial kind of way city. The main attractions involved boats and, as always, livestock:

goat on beach

After fully appreciating the amazing food and beautiful scenery, we rented out a sept-place and practically flew down to Tamba, which features, um… food and scenery. We went to the market and bought fabric:

buying fabric

We then took a taxi out to my village, where my parents were happy to see the village and the village was happy to see my parents. On our second day there we had a big village meal (a goat, kilos upon kilos of rice, a metric ton of beignets) for a small village party:

Kumba dancing

The celebratory slaughter continued back in Tamba, where Josh and Glen slaughtered and butchered Brutus the pig for Christmas dinner:

Josh, bloody knife

Brutus ended up being very tasty, as was all the food that day:

eating meatballs

We also got the visiting family members to dress up in their Senegalese finery and take pictures:

families dressed up

The next day the families and some volunteers went to Niokolo Koba to see the sights (lots of monkeys, one lone warthog, and distant lumps that the guide insisted were hippos):

Renee with binoculars

All in all it was a great visit. It was exhausting to be chaperone/tour guide for two people for two weeks straight, but much easier than I had worried it might be. No major mishaps (Well, except for when the sept-place back to Dakar hit a woman who was crossing the road—she went flying into an Alham but then miraculously got up and started walking around looking for a lost earring. We took her to a nearby hospital, where the driver paid for her visit with the doctor, who declared it “pas de probleme” and gave her a prescription for ibuprofen.), lots of exciting sights and exciting food… good times. I would ask who’s up next, but I already know—Leslie comes to Dakar next Tuesday : )

Happy New Year, everybody.

family portraits

9 Responses to “and on your left…”

hi clare
uncle joe
we missed you fishing south of new orleans this year at mama’s….sorry it took me a while to find your web page
love you uncle joe (hebert)

Your parents are the cutest. parents. ever. I think your mom should definitely wear that around Baton Rouge- preferably in Whole Foods.

i wholly agree with maryann. the pictures are fantastic.

I definately think you’re lucky to have parents who would go to Senegal and hang out with you like that. A firend of mine who is currently in the application process has no support from her parents what-so-ever. They just think she’ll go to Eastern Europe and be killed or raped. They won’t even talk about her upcoming PC service. So you’re blessed. I doubt my parents would do as much as yours have, but they’re still proud of me. Best of luck and happy new year.

happy new year, pictures/narrative wonderful as usual – i wish i too could have made the ocean hop – perhaps if you ever go back to visit 😉

I just wanted to say I really appreciate your blog! I’m thinking about joining the Peace Corps at some point, and it’s so great to have this kind of insight from a volunteer 🙂

Happy New Year To You Too! That Visit Must Have Been Really Nice ^_^

Hi Clare,
Probably don’t remember me because I’m just one of the crowd whenever you went to Aunt Rita’s in Gonzales. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the past year. Especially enjoy the pictures this post – like Paul and Renee all dressed up.

Yeah, I didn’t say it in the post, but I was very very proud of my parents—not only for coming, but for holding up so well in the midst of a completely foreign and often stressful country.

Joe and Linda—thanks for saying hi. I hate missing all the family get-togethers… but I’ll be back for Thanksgiving and Xmas 2006!