Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Around Town

Here are a few pictures I have of various things/places in Kayemor.

Kayemor has a daily vegetable (and fish) market. This open-air market (like every other market in Senegal) is really nice (see, for example, the pictures of the weekly market in Kayemor below); apparently it was built several years ago with funds from the NGO Symbiose (the same NGO that my host dad and I, among other people, are working with to build the seed storage facility).

Every morning numerous women sell vegetables at this daily market, and even more women (and girls) come to the market to buy the vegetables they will cook for lunch (and possibly dinner, though vegetables with dinner are relatively rare). The vast majority of the women buy the vegetables they are selling in other, larger villages or in towns, such as Nioro or Kaolack, and then bring the vegetables to Kayemor to sell; a few women, though, like the president of the women’s group in Passy Kayemor (nearby village) that I work with, sells the vegetables she grows in their garden in the market in Kayemor, as well as other markets in other villages.

If the car that sells fish comes to Kayemor then there are a couple women who also sell fish. The car comes most days, but apparently whenever it’s really windy off the coast of Dakar (which is where the car comes from) the fishermen there either don’t catch any fish or just not a lot of them, so then the car doesn’t come to Kayemor because there aren’t any fish to sell here. The “fish car” (as everyone calls it) that comes to Kayemor leaves Dakar very early in the morning (ex. 3am) and sells fish in Kayemor as well as many other villages in the area. There are several guys that switch off driving the car throughout the day because they are literally driving for 18-20 hours. Once they are done selling all their fish, they make their way back through the villages to pick up any people that want a ride to any of the villages/towns on their route, and then sleep for a few hours either in Kaolack or Dakar before starting the trip all over again the next day. I don’t envy them at all.

Here is the standard array of vegetables (and other food) sold at the market (starting from the front and working back): peanut butter (in the plastic bag and yellow container), cherry tomatoes, (small) heads of cabbage, okra (sliced up in this case), small bags of dried hot pepper as well as pepper and garlic, seed pods from a local tree, carrots (in the woman’s hand), fresh hot pepper, bitter tomato (I really did not like this vegetable when I first got to Senegal, but it’s definitely growing on me), little packets of spices, onions, turnips, cassava (aka manioc), and more spices, onions, tomatoes, etc.

Every Tuesday is the weekly market in Kayemor. People come from all the surrounding villages to sell and buy stuff. You can find just about anything in Kayemor’s “lumma” (the Wolof word for weekly market) that you can find in the larger towns; it is probably more expensive in Kayemor, though. This is a really quick snapshot of the market so it really doesn’t do it justice – and the picture was taken right in the middle of the day, so many people had already gone to relatives or friends houses to escape the sun/heat and to have lunch; thus, there aren’t nearly as many people out and about shopping and/or selling things in this picture as there is normally in the morning and late afternoon.

Here are all the horse- and donkey-pulled charrettes that brought people (and things) to Kayemor for the lumma, and will bring them home again.

Back behind the daily/weekly market area is a (relatively) new agriculture store. The guy who owns/runs the store studied agriculture for several years in Dakar. He sells chemical fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and seeds (according to the writing on the front of his store anyway – I saw the chemical fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides the one time I’ve been inside the store, but no seeds; maybe he only has seeds right before the rainy season…).

This is the main entrance to Kayemor’s peñc mi. The building on the right (inside the fence) is where Kayemor’s small bank is, and the building on the left is where a few of the middle school teachers live. Just visible through the bars of the door is the cement block which is where the robiné (i.e., spicket for running water) is, which the teachers use to get water from to drink and take baths in and which anyone uses to drink from whenever they are there. Just to the right of the robiné (behind the bank building) is the big neem tree where meetings for school, various NGOs, or other community activities are often held.

Here is the big sign out front of the peñc mi that describes the structure of the development program the Communauté Rurale de Kayemor is involved in with the NGO Symbiose. Half the writing isn’t legible any more, but I can read that Symbiose is involved in the development methodology and technique, while Peñc Mi (the satellite branch of Symbiose in Kayemor) is responsible for the execution of the development programs.

This is not a very exciting picture, but it shows one of the (several) cell phone towers in Kayemor, as well as a boy driving a charette, the big baobab trees that are all over Senegal (their big fruit makes a tasty treat when it’s dried and mixed with water and sugar and then frozen), and the side of (one of the many) new buildings that is being built in Kayemor. I was standing close to the new seed storage facility when I took this photo. This is on the very western side of town.

Breakfast, for many people in Kayemor, involves going to one of the many breakfast stalls throughout Kayemor and eating half a loaf of bread (or a whole loaf if you’re really hungry) filled with tuna and an onion sauce or a couple hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise or beans (my personal favorite), with a cup of “coffee” (they only use instant coffee here – I’m not really a fan of it at all…) and a ton of powdered milk (or sometimes just powdered milk and no coffee at all) or another kind of coffee (which I really liked at first but now don’t really like at all). I really like this bread; it is made in a mud oven, so (translated literally from Wolof) it is called “bread mud”. The other main type of bread in Senegal is baked in an electric oven so it is called “machine bread”; this type of bread can only be found in larger towns or cities, such as Nioro, Kaolack, and Dakar. The women who sell breakfast in these stalls hang up sheets to keep dust from blowing in (though they’re really not that effective at preventing that…) and to provide a little more privacy for those eating breakfast. (I don’t usually go to one of these stalls for breakfast, and neither do my host parents. I usually have oatmeal in my hut, or I send one of my younger brother’s to buy a bean sandwich for me. My host parents send my younger brothers to buy breakfast for them, too.)

Here’s the butcher’s stall in Kayemor. I walk buy it all the time but never think to take a picture – until I took this one, that is. Meat is pretty expensive so most people only eat it on special occasions, such as various Islamic holidays (ex. Tabaski). I’ve eaten meat a few times when I’ve attended big meetings that are funded by NGOs – the promise of a good lunch is (to be perfectly honest) one reason why people attend these meetings. I much prefer it, though, when we have chicken or fish with lunch instead of sheep or goat because when we have sheep/goat everyone only gets a tiny portion of the meat (because it is so expensive) and most of what we eat is not really what I would consider meat – it’s mostly bone or cartilage. While it is normal to eat an 8 oz. steak in the States, to say that I even share an 8 oz. steak with 4 other people at these meetings would be vast overstatement.

This is the biggest mosque in Kayemor. There are a handful of other smaller mosques that look like this, as well as even smaller mosques that are just small, square huts. I have never been inside one of these mosques (because girls and women of child-bearing age typically cannot go in them), but I have looked inside. Unlike churches, there are no pews since everyone who goes there to pray just kneels/stands on a mat when they pray. The mosque (that looks like this but is smaller) that is right next to my hut wakes me up almost every morning around 5am – well, the mosque itself doesn’t wake me up, the imam who is saying the call to prayer and his prayers over the loudspeaker is the one who wakes me up. The only times I am not woken up are when the electricity is cut off when he is doing the call to prayer because then his loudspeaker doesn’t work.

It’s not just people who use the mosque – sheep do too! :)


  1. Hi I am a teacher from Washington, DC and will be in Kaffrine from 15/16 April until 21 April. I am working with a teacher there through an exchange program supported by the Department of State. I am just checking to see who might be in the area that could serve as an additional contact. I will be leaving for Dakar on the 9th, but will have access to email.

  2. Hi Julie - I can't access your profile, so I have no other way of contacting you, but if you see this, give me a call: 77-330-48-63 and I can put you in contact with some other people who are in Kaffrine (there are 2 PCVs there).