Peace Corps year 1

cause we kan-kan-kankouran

The highlight of last week was a visit to Kim’s site, where (on her fifth-to-last-day there) her village’s women’s groupement put up 100,000 cfa for one heck of a going away party.

A group of us biked in from Missirah in the morning. We arrived, greeted, and then put on our Senegalese finery. The party was already in full swing—a crowd was gathered in the shade of a neem tree, dancing to tam-tams and awaiting the arrival of the kankourans, leaf- and bark-covered guys who lead the dancing and scare children. They’re exclusive to Mandinka and Jahnke culture, and apparently make special appearances at circumcision ceremonies.


What followed was much dancing (on the part of both the Senegalese and the Americans—the latter much to the Senegalese’ amusement), the biggest bowl of rice any of us has ever seen, and then more dancing. Josh was in particularly fine form (see Exhibit A and Exhibit B), though we all participated:

Clare dances

I took enough pictures and wrote enough captions to feel justified in telling y’all to go look at the gallery rather than expect a detailed description here. The only thing I didn’t photograph was the nighttime dancing, when the kankourans appeared in different costumes—all leaves and no bark or masks, resembling a giant bush with legs that danced like a big green Snuffleupagus.

Then Volney returned to France, and I returned to village life during the hottest, driest month of the year. My goal for the week is to get work started on a shade structure for my backyard.

3 replies on “cause we kan-kan-kankouran”

Those are some of my favorite pictures yet. I’m printing some for my class to illustrate the Senegal article we’re about to read in Junior Scholastic.

Seriously, I’m almost done being a teacher.

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