Final Notes from Kafountine

Trip Start Jan 14, 2014
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17
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Trip End Mar 16, 2014


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Flag of Senegal  ,
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

   Our time is winding down. The garden has grown fast. There are even peas fruiting and the tomatoes have come from seed to shin high. I have been coaching the guy that works at the internet cafe, Kidane, on various tricks and tips for computers and internet in general. He has been letting me ride for free at the cafe in exchange.
   I am amazed at the strength of the women here, physically and otherwise. They pull the water up from deep wells and carry it on their heads time and time again. They cannot be stopped. We are happy to have helped install electric and water at the maternity clinic in Kabar. Hopefully it will ease someones labor.
   The birds here should be noted. We are on the lush side of the line between tropical forest and Sahara savanna/desert. Cassamance is the third most diverse bird watching spot on the continent of Africa, which says a lot. The sights and sounds are truly spectacular.
   Some friends wanted to know about the surf. I think there would be great surf here if a big swell came in. We are here in the low surf season and have not seen a wave over six feet. The big summer storms probably lend themselves to great surfing. There are some awesome points and offshore reef/bar breaks worth noting.
   Land and homes are pretty cheap. One spot was advertised as follows:
Newish house with electric, well, and pump, walking distance to beach, on five acres half planted with orange trees - 15,000 euros. 
   Unlike the land, ocean, and trees, the quality of many goods, particularly hardware, etc. from China, is disappointing. There are toys in the U.S. made to a higher standard than some of the tools and things here. For example, rebar only comes in small gauges. Keys and locks are easy to break and the cigarette lighters are not strong enough to pop the top off a soda bottle. The shovels are flimsy and bend readily. All the cars are falling apart. Even internet access, when paid for monthly, will go in and out at odd hours of the day and is much slower than promised.
   Kafountine is growing faster than investors can keep up with. I see there are some niches not yet being filled. No one is frying fish, conch, plantain and potatoes on the street. That was one thing I saw everywhere else in Africa where there was fish. There are no juice bars. What better and healthier way to take advantage of all the mango, citrus, papaya, coconut, baobab, guava and other tropical fruits living here? And what about all these dilapidated hotels?
   All that said, people here don't have a capitalist mind set. All those lemons on that tree are not for sale. They are for sharing. Most goods change hands here as gifts. Money making on main street is either a new or suspicious concept. There is culture and religion mixed up in all of it as well, but I can see that chance encounters and gifts make this little economy turn. Retail shopping is for the working man only. All schedules are flexible. No one checks a clock.
   A final practical tip. They have these fleas here that live in the sand and on the skin of the animals that walk around everywhere (cats, dogs, sheep, goats, cows, pigs). They bury their head in you like a tick. Then they proceed to burrow deeper and produce copious eggs under your skin. They don't hurt or itch, but the eggs, if not contained, will make more fleas. Wearing shoes will not help, but keeping your feet clean and scratching and examining every itch will help you remove them before they get too far. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chigoe_flea
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