Two days ago we visited three markets in the morning. The markets were very different. The first market was for daily goods and food. It was very crowded and the walkways were tiny. Only one person could comfortably (by my standards) walk down the aisle, but there was two way traffic on them. They sold everything from vegetables to rice to fish (mainly dried and smoked) and some meat. It was sensory overload and not very comfortable. The second market was more of an artisan market and the last one was a clothing/cloth market. This market had ready made clothing (pret-a -porter), cloth you could buy and take to a tailor, jewelry, shoes, everything. I didn't make any purchases this day, but it was good to see how everything works.
Yesterday, we visited the monastery of Keur Moussa. It was wonderful! It's out in the country and getting there was a little difficult. It involved two hours of travel on very bumpy roads that had lots of pot holes. It was almost like a roller coaster ride and I actually enjoyed it. The monastery is so beautiful and the monks are so friendly. We got a tour of the gardens (They had everything from grapefruits and limes to cashews, and a typical garden similar to the one at home next to their chicken house) and the workshop where they make their koras. A kora is a stringed instrument that slightly resembles a guitar but sounds more like a harp to me. The monks use the koras in their services - a blend of cultures. We attended a mass there and got to witness the monks singing with the koras. It was heavenly music. I bought a cassette of kora music and a nice postcard there with a kora on it. We also ate lunch with the monks - well, they cooked for us. It was really good! Chicken or fish, rice, green beans, potatoes, and cake with fruit for dessert. They also provided grapefruit juice from their orchard for us to drink.
Finally we went to Lac Rose and got to see the hills of salt and take pictures. There were women that came running up to the bus wanting to sell us stuff. They almost followed us onto the bus when we got back on. It's so heartbreaking because they are so desperate to provide for their families because there isn't a lot in that area of the country they can do to earn money. It made me very sad to see mothers who are trying to take care of their kids. It's so different thatn home where there are government systems to help families in need.