Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ndondol and beyond

Well, the village homestay is over and actually ended three days earlier than anticipated. It's a long story, so here goes.....

We arrived at Ndondol on Saturday afternoon and moved in with our families. My family was the Sene family and Aminu was my new mom. I can't say enough about my family. They were so welcoming and kind. They made sure that I had everything I could possibly need. I had my own room and bathroom and even some air conditioning. I was treated amazingly well. My biggest surprise was the fact that Aminu and her family lived in an extended family setting. Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all living inside a large compound fence. There were concrete houses and grass huts too. There were also tons of people everywhere including children because so many people live there including the family goats, chickens, and even a turkey who showed up the last day. I think the hardest thing about the village was that there were constantly people around and I was never really sure what to do, but they were so nice.

However, after some discussion, the group decided that we had experienced what life in the village would have been like for the rest of the time. We ended up deciding to go on to a new experience at another hotel. It was really sad saying goodbye to my family because they were so sweet to me.

We went to a seaside hotel next and did some very interesting lessons. We made batik fabric which was awesome! The first day we drew out patterns on the cloth and waxed over what we wanted to stay white and then they dyed the fabric our first color. The next day, we waxed over what we wanted to stay the first dyed color and then they dyed the fabric our second color. Then they removed the wax and returned our cloth. I did a white, pink, and blue cloth and it turned out really nicely. I also went to a drum lesson and it was lots of fun. I did much better than I thought I would. Who knew I had so much rhythm? Francesca has a video to prove it as well.

We are currently in a second hotel in Toubacouta and we visited the mangrove forests today and met the queen of an island.

Tomorrow we leave for Joal, birthplace of Leopold Sedar Senghor.

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