|Pre-boarding Maty. Near midnight, Halloween night. Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport|
What have I learned?
|Maty and Mor, admiring the monkey-bread fruit, under the baobob tree, the day we went to Gorée.|
We met some North American college women in the restaurant on Gorée. Mama Nene's is an open-air venue, with a thatched roof, blessed by the breezes that come up off the water. Skinny cats prowl under the tables, alert for morsels.
The women were curious about Maty and me. How had we met? One of them said she hoped to marry a Senegalese man. I understood. Egalitarian Americans are swept away by Senegalese respect and courtesy.
It comes from their religion.
|The Great Mosque in Touba. (Construction continues, evidenced by the scaffolding.)|
|Within the Mosque|
|On the road to Touba|
|Thiés street scene|
Thiés is a cacophony of noise and activity. Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and horse-drawn carts clog the streets. Engines roar, people shout and laugh, livestock bleats, cocks crow, and at intervals throughout the day, the local mosques broadcast the haunting call to prayer over public address systems. The ululating voice serves as reminder that order encompasses chaos.
|Thiés, from the taxi|
|My welcoming meal on Mama Diop's patio in Sanghor City. Sengalese-spiced chicken, yassa onion sauce, and french fries.|
I called to Maty, in the courtyard behind me. "Honey, someone is yelling at me." She came to the gate and looked. "Ah, it's Khadim. He wants you to come talk to him."
Which I did. Our talk was very limited due to the language barrier. But he shook my hand and taught me some Wolof words and introduced me to the neighbors. His wife served me tea. We were friends instantly.
|Some of Mama Diop's neighbors|
I had not seen Mama nor Mor since 2007, when I visited Ouagadougou in the year after Maty and I were married. Since that time, Papa Diop has passed. And my brother-in-law Pape.
|Mama, plucking a chicken for dinner|
|Mor and Khoumbah, with Khoudia|
We're home. But I'm thinking about Senegal. And I'm missing my family.
|My family in Senegal. Omar, Khoumba, Maty, Mama, Khoudia (on my lap), and Tonton Modou|
|Rolling down the highway.|
|On the Gorée beach|
|Garbage pickup service in Dakar.|
|Fishermen off Gorée.|
|Rue de Impasse in Sanghor City|
|Roadside fruit stand|
|Maty, Khoudia, and Mor on the road to Touba|
|Inside the Grand Mosque|
|Swimming not advised, in Bandia reserve|
|Maty and Khoudia|