This was an “Oh my Gosh day!”
For starters, I need to share that at dinner the night before, I plated up some homemade chicken and sauce and bit into what I thought was a tomato in the sauce. They call these Mike Tyson peppers in Africa due to the punch they carry. I had a bit a surprise to say the least.
No work for us today. We left for a whirlwind tour with our guide Almamy at 9am. With the hot weather and uncertain conditions, I had a lot of anxiety about immersion into the Senegal culture. We made the decision to dive in,…in fact, we took a major cannon ball into this adventure.
He took us to his neighborhood, which is in a poor district in downtown Dakar. We met his family, then checked out the house where we are going for the feast Monday. It’s hard to describe the conditions they live in. On the way to the market, we watched five 12 year olds load a hog-tied sheep into the trunk of a taxi. We asked Almamy if they’d survive the heat in there,…he answered “for a while.” We made it through the meat & fish market (barracuda with 1000 flies on it was my fave), wormed our way through the spice market and hit paydirt at the voodoo market. We bought a few good luck charms (no hexing for us).
We stopped at three different schools and took a big tour at the Catholic school from Sr. Audette. We met some kids in summer school. Me then made it (by foot) to the ferry to Gorae Island, where thousands of slaves were shipped for 300 years. We saw what they called “the Door of No Return,” where slaves went out and never came back.
We also saw the artisans make sand art paintings and got a lot of info. on baobab trees on the island. Another great insight came to me: I finally learned that the word “wow” means
“yes” in local Wolof dialect. Almamy keeps saying “wow” to me when I ask questions, I thought he was mocking my questions!
Four cab rides through the most crazy, crowded tiny streets was interesting. One guy honked his way through hundreds of pedestrians…this was maybe the closest I have come to an accident in like forever. My dear wife would have been on the floor of the cab sobbing after one block.
The weather? The temp at the ferry was 95 degrees with 77 dew point,…much hotter on Gorae Island. I got home at 6 from this memorable day, took a top 5 ever shower followed by a top ever Diet Coke on ice.
When I get home, I will probably attempt to explain what this place is all about. You will be bored in two minutes or less, it is the all time “you have to have been there” adventure. Suffice to say, this is a life-changing trip for me. Tomorrow, the safari (giraffes!!!) and then to a beach resort for 2 days.
This Blog was written by Tom Cody of Top 20 Training.