"The language of friendship is not words but meanings." Henry David Thoreau

Fatou Ba, my Senegalese Sister.
When I came across this quote, I had to use it in a blog post. It is probably the most appropriate quote to represent my Gap Year. Fatou Ba's English is small and my French is absolutely horrendous, but somehow we manage to meet in the middle. To some, it may seem difficult or tedious that a five minute conversation may take us half an hour, however, to me, it adds a new dynamic to our relationship. We are able to gossip, laugh and joke without actually understanding the words that are being spoken. It is teaching me something very valuable about friendship: friendship is not about what you say to each other nor about having "so much in common", but about the special bond you share, one that is irreplaceable.  


"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo

A pirouge, used as traditional fishing boats in West Africa. 

This boy used a bottle to catch fish for his Ceebu Jen. 

The beautiful tree in Foundiougne.

Susanna and I with out new french buddies. 

The family we stayed with. 

As I brush my toes against the water and let the waves crash again my feet to cool myself down from the sweltering heat, I find myself thinking about the wonders of life. Two months ago, I was strolling across Embankment, forgetting to take in the view, as people who are brought up in London do. I forgot to wave goodbye the my bestfriend, Big Ben. I forgot to watch the London Eye do it's final rotation for the day. I  generally just forgot to absorb all that London has to offer. Now, I watch the goats drag their feet along the dusty roads as the extravagantly dressed ladies sit idly by their stands filled to the brim with watermelons, bananas, lemons, nuts. They smile as you walk by as if to say "I've been waiting for you all day", making you feel guilty for being too full to have a watermelon today. 

As much as I love where I am volunteering in Senegal, getting away was a blessing. To not have to think about all the work that had to be done for a day was liberating, especially when getting away was to the 'joli'  Foundiougne. As I arrived on what looked like a boat dragging along some sort of hovercraft, I watched the people play along the beach. I was excited.  We were welcomed by the Jeremy, who had come from France to Senegal for 4 months to volunteer with his association, and spent the evening playing in the water then drying off at his friends house before getting ready for the next day. A day full of  exploring Foundiougne and absorbing the heat on a pirouge. 


“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” ― Martha Graham

In Senegal, there are two types of people, those who can dance very well and those who can dance extremely well. As I sit at the closing ceremony of the summer project at the local school, I realise that I am probably the worst dancer here today. Group by group the kids come up to expose what they have been learning and, every time dancers come up, I am bewildered. The kids are too young to know how to dance with such passion and elegance. Every move is in time with the music and their peers. They are young, they are naive and I, well I'm jealous. 


"To get lost is to learn the way." ~ African proverb

Talking to Thierno
Thieno is one of the first friends I made when I arrived in Kaolack. He lives with and is a relative of our host. 

Precious: What is your name?
Thierno: Thierno, you know my name!
P: How old are you?
T: I am 19 years old.
P: Really? La blague (joke)?
T: Yes, la blague, but you can write that.
P: What do you  like to do when there is no school?
T: Play football, talking with my friend.
P: So it is your favourite sport? You like it?
T: Yes, a lot.
P: Tell me about your bestfriend.
T: My bestfriend? I have two bestfriends. Moustapha and Mohammed. Moustapha is a very good person. He all the time call me to say he is fine. It's my friend who is in Dakar. Mohammed is my first bestfriend. We were together when we are 5 years old. I lived with him for two years until I came here. 
P: The guy we met yesterday was he your brother?
T: No, but I call him my brother. I have one brother, his name is Abou. [The interview] it's finished?
P: No, where is the best place to go in Kaolack?
T: The best place to go in Kaolack [thinks] Kasaville.
P: What is it?
T: It's a corner (neighbourhood) where I was born. I like this corner very well. Every Friday, I go there to pray.
P: Can you dance?
T: I don't like to dance, but I like listening to music [pause] and Koranic music.