Home, Sweet Home

Trip Start Jan 14, 2014
1
5
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Trip End Mar 16, 2014


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Flag of Senegal  ,
Saturday, January 18, 2014

   Kafountine, what can I say? Whatever I do say, know that we are here in the DRY season. Apparently the rains make it a little trickier around here for transport, insects, disease and otherwise. Now, the living is easy.
   I only saw one mosquito last night. Still, sleep is light on Friday and Saturday (and Tuesday and some Wednesday) nights at Mame Diarra's house. We are only a few blocks from two discotechs. We arrived on Friday night, so we were quickly aware that the youth here love their reggae. They love it so much that the discotechs blast it as loud as they can until 4 a.m. The music could be worse, but it could also be better. There is a shortage of tunes. In fact all the tunes are resold mp3's. Everyone has the same playlist, so at least three times per week (but usually double this because the same song will repeat more than once in a night) you will hear Busy Signal doing "The Gambler," and "Rasta Got Soul" by Fantan Mojah.
    We woke up late, tired from travel and the kong-kong-kong until 4 a.m. It is sunny, warm, arid and breezy. Some days start with light fog that burns off early. The past week (2/4 - 2/10) has had little wind and it is hot - lower 90s at mid afternoon. The beach is a little cooler and usually has a brisk, northerly-onshore wind this time of year. The ocean water feels about 75 degrees, and there is no rip current, like there was on the north beach of Dakar.
    We are surrounded by palm trees of all sorts, and many kinds of citrus are in season. Mango trees are prominent here, and, while the fruit is not in season, the pits all over the ground tell of the bounty. Eucalyptus and bamboo are here, as well as the pan-African baobab trees. There is a perennial milkweed that makes a scrubby tree and many other plants I have yet to visit including Commiphora, Hibiscus, Acacia etc. (I meant to bring The Trees of Southern Africa by van Wyk and van Wyk. Indeed, it is the one thing I forgot.)
   We thought Kafountine was a small village, but it has sprawled into quite a large town in the last decade or so. The "fishing village" is only one part of town. Kafountine even has it's suburbs and resort hotels at the outskirts. We live smack in the middle.
   Most people practice Islam of one brotherhood or another. A good portion of the population are Baye Fall, and I will mention them again later. Most everyone else I would refer to as "regular muslims," the type that pray on their prayer mats five times per day. (The men on their mats blocked the streets at lunch time in Dakar.) The first prayer is about 5:30 or 6 a.m., so the discotech nights have peace from 4 to 5:30 a.m., then men shouting (not as often singing as in East Africa) to Allah, then the chorus of thousands of roosters from every direction until dawn, about 7:30, the time of the second prayer.
   Overall, Kafountine is paradise. Everyone is happy, courteous, hospitable. The men are strapping, fit and strong. The women are beautiful (despite all the fake hair gripping the diaspora) and incredibly productive. The children go to school, and I rarely hear them cry. Everyone speaks at least three languages. There is no crime, as any criminal would be quickly shamed out of town. God is really here in every word and action. The most valued commodity is PEACE. It is referenced in every greeting, and everyone greets everyone, without exception.
   I get the sense that this town is just coming into its own, and worry that the fast population growth will bring crime and growing pains in the next decade or so.
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