SENEGAL NEWS TICKER NO. 4 - DAILY LIFE

My Recent Posts

It's 4.30 pm, the Muezzin calls for an early prayer. It wakes me up regularly, and I lie quietly in bed and listen to that mix of religion and the sound of the fan which allows me to sleep in the heat. My room has no windows, so 95F is not uncommon when I go to bed at around 2am usually, not before having discussed the business day with my friend and partner. These discussions often end up with lively debates about societies, cultures, philosophies and the differences between our cultures.

 

More often that not I have to admit that we Westerners are on the wrong track with our superficial consumer attitude where "esprit et conscience" are on the losing side.

 

Around 10am la bonne (the maid) shows up with le petit dejeuner (breakfast), and we sit on the carpet in the living room enjoying fried eggs, bread and butter, and coffee - no, not local brew, but that damn Nescafe.....before you complain about having a maid, that this would be slavery, be reminded that this is a paid job here, and a lot of young women wouldn't have one if it weren't for this.

 

Now, before the heat reaches 110F, we take a car to town to meet people, or do some shopping. We don't have malls where you find everything in one place, so you're driving around half of the day from shop to shop, take in some healthy exhaust fumes, add some Sahara dust to it and at night you sure know why you cough.

 

Yesterday we had to repair a Sony Xperia which was considered being completely done in Switzerland. Here the thing was fixed in one hour for US$ 10. Mind you, it did cost US$ 300 two years ago....these people can fix literally everything, I tell you.

 

 

Then I got my new tailored suit, which did cost US$ 100, and finally we got home at 3pm - just in time for lunch - rice and fish and hot spices, 6 people around a big plate, and since I'm the veggie lover people shoved all their veggies over to me ;-)

 

The habitude of letting the TV run all day also exists here, and when my partner's wife is around, telenovelas run through, Nollywood, Indian crap and Top Models until you like to puke. Just like back home. Women are the same all over, really. And when CSI is on, I'm taking a chair outside, sit in front of the house, watch the kids play soccer on the street and listen to some good old Progressive Metal. One can sit outside all night here, temperature drops sharply, and the only disturbing thing are mosquitoes. Yes, we have malaria here, but no worries. They have drugs, 3 tablets in 2 days, and you're up and running again.

 

We're living in a part of town which is considered "grand standing", means everyone has his own house, the environment is spacy, and there's no crime, not even muggings or verbal aggressions. After almost 4 weeks, people know the "toubab", the White guy living here. And they are very friendly. We sit together at night and drink Arab tea (you know, the small glasses), it's a come-and-go, since everyone knows Alioune, my partner, and his family.

 

Really, life here is very slow and full of social life. Internet is also slow, if available, but who cares ? We don't need the net here to fill empty hours. We got better things to do - and when we've had it with meetings, we drive the 45 miles to the beach and get a healthy sunburn :-)

 

Comments

Ric Wells Added Apr 18, 2017 - 11:00am
My friend you are loving life.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 11:30am
Sure do, Ric. And I spend about US$ 5 when staying home :)
Ric Wells Added Apr 18, 2017 - 11:33am
That's 5 more than I spend when I stay home.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 12:10pm
LOL Gotta pay food share at least :)
Ric Wells Added Apr 18, 2017 - 12:56pm
But there are some days I fast. But yes there is food. Rent but do not pay utilities.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 1:41pm
I tried to fast once but I felt weak the next day and I can't sleep when belly empty.....
Ric Wells Added Apr 18, 2017 - 1:44pm
I worked up to it. Half day then 3/4. Then full. But I will have coffee and water. 
wsucram15 Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:08pm
SEF..so jealous. I love the chill life...I really do.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:18pm
Now, it sounds like time to "get things done," but on whatever consists as "local time", as in "its now time to get this done."  Could have been yesterday, last week, but its time now.
John Minehan Added Apr 18, 2017 - 4:13pm
Looks like an interesting place.
 
I spent time is East Africa (Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia) when I was in the Army and there are clear similarities.
 
Kenya and Djibouti had Souks, market places, sometimes open air (or, often in Kenya, enclosed), where you could get almost anything.
 
Kenya, because it was English speaking, seemed to LOVE South African soap operas and British sit-coms.
 
The commercials for the laundry detergents were odd, as in the states, they would have an attractive young matron with a number of telegenic kids . . . but instead of washing the husband and kids' clothes in a machine, she would be seen using the detergent outside in a wash tub, 
 
Kenya had morning-drive-time Talk Radio similar to what we have in the states: local politics; celebrity gossip; and "life-style" hints.
 
In Ethiopia and Kenya it was odd where the all-weather roads were, as opposed to dirt roads, not where you would think.
 
In the parts of Ethiopia where we had people, if you knew who had the Coca-Cola franchise, you knew who had "pull" or "juice" locally.  I was in another part of the country on an evaluation job and the same was true of the Pepsi-franchise. 
 
I suspect Africa will be to this century what Asia was to the 20th.  
 
    
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 5:33pm
Jeanne
 
Come down. We have a neat little hotel in Niangal called Da Paulo. Suite is CFA 25'000 a day (US$ 50), and you can pack 4 people in two rooms :-)
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 5:34pm
Jeff.
 
Yep. This week will be decisive....
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 5:37pm
John
 
Thanks for the update on East Africa - never been there yet. But I guess it must be the same only more drunks on the road (no Muslims except in Djibouti I guess) and therefore more aggression at night ;-)
wsucram15 Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:17pm
I'd love to..but you know its not the hotel...its the airfare which is a killer. I will look into it more if you are there in the fall, I promise. I have two grand babies coming over the next couple of months and its quite expensive somehow, I mean for me.
John Minehan Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:23pm
East Africa has a fairly large Muslim population, mostly (but not exclusively) ethnic Somali.
 
Muslim-Christian friction is a BIG part of the history of Ethiopia and it (really Muslim-Christian/Animist friction)  lead to the break-up of Sudan in the last10 or 12 years  
 
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:32pm
Jeanne
 
From Switzerland to Dakar and back is a 500 US$, used to be double. Fares are expensive december 10 to january 10 if not it's ok. You won't pay hotel :)
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:35pm
John
 
Same as CI, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon etc. There's an invisible line in between across Africa dividing countries in Muslim (north) and Christian (south).
 
John Minehan Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:50pm
The funny thing about Ethiopia is that the North, the Armhara and Tigrayan regions are Christian, the Center, the Oromo region, is mixed and the Southeast is Somali Muslim. 
 
In Kenya, the Swahili Muslims are in the Southeast and the Somali Muslims are to the Northeast, both on the Somali Border.      
wsucram15 Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:28pm
I know in EU its cheaper to fly.  From US to Dakar..just pulling up   fares at last minute is 1210.00 to 1600.00 USD, cheapest flights. But if I reserved for October its 1007.00 on Delta.   Better.  Im telling you airfare is ridiculous here.  Thanks about the hotel, kinda cool.
When you know for sure you will be there in the fall, I will change over my passport and look again at flights because I promised..and because I have always wanted to see Africa. 
wsucram15 Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:49pm
I once almost booked a trip to Giza, I was so excited based on fares in EU.  Then I realized like an Idiot..I had to add airfare from US to there..omg, its actually cheaper now. I also wanted at one point to go to Israel but that was completely out of the question even on a tourist cheap trip. A good friend of mine was going to help with the expense because his family wanted me to see the old city.
I have a friend in Italy..All I had to do was pay airfare...and with kids I could never afford taking a trip by myself.  I never really wanted to see anything there except Sistine Chapel and a pizza joint he told me about that I would have liked (I dont like pizza).  I also dont like a lot of touristy crap.  I like the locals version of an area, you see more that way.
If it had not been for my kids, I would have been a missionary, I swear.  I travel a lot now..but mostly near home or one day away.
I think the only other thing in Europe I wanted to see was the Gardens at Giverny. My next big planned trip is Alaska before it melts unless I actually come to Africa.
Also one day I would like to see Greenland which is not the EU.  I might get to do that...I think its really pretty there at the right time of year, since I do photography..its a dream for me.
Africa would be the same.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 4:01am
We were anchored in the river in Mombasa for 40 some days while waiting for a spot in the shipyard in Durban to open up to repair damage incurred while lightering in Mogadishu that prevented an Atlantic crossing. Beers were 12 cents, a few of the mixed women were stunningly beautiful and not at all expensive. The old man sent the bosun after me to make sure I got back to the ship according to the sailing board. I hear the entire flavor of the place has changed considerably as a result of Islam asserting itself there. I will always fondly recall those days.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:28am
Michael
 
You really are an asshole. I don't let my articles be ruined by a creep like you and I delete EVERY insult.
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:29am
Jeanne
 
As said you're most welcome. I'll be here for sure from November to....open :)
 
 
 
Bill Kamps Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:32am
OMG, Nescafe, brings back awful  memories when I started going to Russia.  After a couple of trips I started bringing my own coffee and mini coffee brewer.  That didnt fix the trips to the  office, I just changed to tea, because I couldnt drink that crap.  Starbucks now finally makes an almost drinkable instant coffee. 
 
Must be a tea society ? otherwise they  would have decent coffee.
 
Sounds like some of my first trips to the west cost of Costa Rica way back when.  Most of the day we just sat around, after a couple of weeks we thought we were "busy" with the daily routine, waiting for those few moments when some work would get done.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:32am
Jeffry
 
I bet you got lots of stories there :) Always wanted to work on a ship and see the world this way too but never made it. Just not enough physical power LOL
 
Ric Wells Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:33am
Not fasting today. Breakfast is bacon eggs coffee onions mushrooms and tomatos. Have a nice day my friend.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:37am
You too Ric. Was thinking about fasting but the fried eggs begged to be eaten :))
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 8:16am
Bill
 
Yep it's a tea society but not Lipton :) Mind you, when it's 110F outside between 12am and 5pm nobody works outside if possible.
 
We usually work between 5pm and 2-3 am. First the meetings mostly for supper, then at home on documents and mails.
 
wsucram15 Added Apr 19, 2017 - 8:20am
What did Michael say? Nevermind..Im just glad you are still on here...:)
Hey Stone..do you have a coffee pot, to brew coffee, like if I sent you some or is it the coffee pot you need?
I dont think any human should be without god coffee or liquor .  One to wake you up the other to knock you out.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 9:15am
Jeanne
 
There might be good coffee here, but it's not THAT important, thanks anyway :-) BTW: Michael just insulted Africans as a whole as it is his specialty to insult and wish death to everybody/everything he doesn't understand....
wsucram15 Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:07am
Oh pooh..all people are the same.  When people learn that this will be a better world
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:38am
Never.....;)
wsucram15 Added Apr 19, 2017 - 11:23am
Yes..I know, Its really sad.  Sometimes I think I live in the wrong time.  I like things simple and I hate cell phones.  Computers are ok once in awhile but I have lived w/o them also.  Snail mail works.
The only thing cool about social media and computers is talking to people from other countries, like yourself.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:21pm
Exactly, in the tea societies they use Nescafe because everyone is set up to make hot water for tea.  I was just appalled how popular Nescafe was, when I started traveling overseas.  Yes  the tea is better in those places, and I just adapted especially when I went to homes, or offices.  Having my own coffee brew in my hotel to wake up to, was a nice treat.  I just started carrying it all the time, since even in the West, sometimes you get a coffee maker in the room, and sometimes not, so best to always be prepared.
 
I suppose air conditioning is rare there, do any of the living quarters have it, or you have to have your  own generator to get AC ? is it a dry heat so you can use the swamp coolers we used in New Mexico, or you would need real AC ?
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:29pm
Jeanne
 
Same here. I like to chat with the world and then go there if possible!
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:33pm
Bill
 
Tap water is ok to drink but not as tasty and fresh as in rural Cameroon. In cities I don't drink tap water rather beer. Once in a while I go to Dakar to drink but usually only on weekends. Here in Thies I live in a Muslim household, alcohol would be inappropriate.
 
I hate AC never had it, makes me sick. I prefer a simple fan on high speed :)
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:35pm
BTW yes we have dry heat fortunately. At night I have cozy 30° celsius in my room and the fan - perfect !
Bill Kamps Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:48pm
In dry heat we used swamp coolers, which really is nothing more than running water over a filter, and blowing a fan through it.  In Arizona and New Mexico they cool entire houses with it.  I dont know if they exist in Africa. 
 
In Houston I keep the temp set to about 27-28 C for the air conditioner so its not as cold as some places like the mall where you need a jacket lol.   Here it is 35C and humid during the day, in summer, which is pretty tough without the AC.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:05pm
Houston! Part of the year your climate approximates ours. As you know swamp coolers make things worse in humid climates. Good to see the 28C setting. We seldom turn on the air here. on the 22nd floor we're at a height where the air moves more briskly all the time and have floor to ceiling window walls and doors on three sides. We just open everyting up and stay relatively comfortable. Admittedly we are  always unclothed and take several showers on the hotter days but my electric expense is neglible. 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:10pm
Bill
 
Sounds like Cameroon. Never seen those coolers in Africa though. However I prefer 45° dry heat to 35° humid heat...
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:12pm
Jeffry
 
Try that "unclothed" here LOL We have lots of visitors and people just show up unplanned, which is usual here...;)
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:21pm
Try that "unclothed" here LOL
 
I know. :)
 
That said our staff are here all day and several friends, deliverymen and occasional technicians from the building are in and out all day too. We also have bilingual notices on the outer and inner sets of entrance doors for those who haven't delivered/worked before. 
 
One assumes Thais are easier going about it than are those in your neck of the woods. 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:06pm
I guess so. This here is Muslim LOL
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:23pm
There is no law in Thailand against nudity on private property inside or outside. Public nudity is subject to a $14 fine payable directly to the policeman. 
 
The reason I know this is because we're about to finally get our first naturist resort on the beach here. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:26pm
That said its considered socially unacceptable. Many Thais especially women still bathe in the ocean fully clothed -shirt, bra, shorts and skivvies. Most Thais when they see naked or topless foreigners biggest reaction is: "crazy farang" and shake their heads. We always try not to offend when outside our home however.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:44pm
Jeffry
 
Nudist beach ...  when I was in Aussie and France I practised that too with the result of a burned ass I couldn't sit on for days.....
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:48pm
a burned ass I couldn't sit on for days.....
 
....ouch! Those places that have never been exposed need to have serious sunblock. I have a friend currently recuperating with sunburned labia. Not fun. 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 19, 2017 - 4:29pm
Oh-oh.....
Mircea Negres Added Apr 20, 2017 - 10:58am
The rhythm of life in Africa is different from that of Europe. Glad to read you're grooving to it, Stone-Eater.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 20, 2017 - 11:07am
Mircea
 
That's fairly easy to do :-) I found that out long ago, when I arrived the first time in Mali 1993. Kind of when I lost my heart to Africa. Nobody can do business here when he's not able to be patient and slow down. On the other hand the probability to get a heart attack is almost nil ;-)
 
wsucram15 Added Apr 20, 2017 - 9:16pm
Hey SEF..A new Prince Release came out..6 songs.  But it was gone the next day, literally.  The estate sued and it was gone from everywhere in a day. It is not music from his vault and circa 2006.
It had been leaked by the producer in advance of the hard release knowing he would have an injunction against him for release.  IT was cool he leaked it.  Most of it is just Prince doing riffs..but the last song is pretty funky. 
Hearing his stuff was great, but sad just the same.   Just an FYI..
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 21, 2017 - 8:34am
Jeanne
 
Oh shit.....would have liked to hear that one :-(
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 21, 2017 - 8:44am
....got it. It's called Deliverance, as you said 6 tracks :-)
Jeff Michka Added Apr 22, 2017 - 7:33pm
So the Great Defender of Whitemen was at it again, writes SEFa: Michael-You really are an asshole. I don't let my articles be ruined by a creep like you and I delete EVERY insult.- Don't know what was said, but refreshing to know somethings never change.  Wow, Prince fans.  Who would have guessed?  Keep the rays on you, SEFa.
John Minehan Added Apr 22, 2017 - 7:36pm
Any thoughts on this?
Jeff Michka Added Apr 22, 2017 - 9:33pm
SEFa writes:  Nudist beach ...  when I was in Aussie and France I practised that too with the result of a burned ass I couldn't sit on for days...- Try being a naturist near a snow field in the high Cascades for a burned ass of a lifetime thrill...no people for miles, altitude and nonstop Sun.

Recent Articles by Writers Stone-Eater Friedli afronum follows.