Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Swimming, Dancing, and Laughing

A couple weeks ago it was my friend Cora’s birthday so we and a couple other friends, Jen, Mollie, and Carla, decided to go to a French campement near Jen’s village. This campement, like most of the others in Senegal, is a resort-type place (as much of a resort as it can be out in the bush) where French men come to go hunting (for birds mostly but also warthogs and squirrel-type animals), relax, and experience a new culture (to limited extent since they’re somewhat sheltered from what we would consider the “real Senegal”). Jen goes to this campement relatively often to charge her cell phone and iPod (she is like most rural ag volunteers and doesn’t have electricity in her village), relax by the pool and work on reports or letters home or just read. This was the first time the rest of us had been there, though. It was a great afternoon. We shared a bottle of wine and chatted with the French guys that were there (they had just gotten back from their morning hunt when we got there) and with the Senegalese men and women working there (they really liked speaking in Wolof with us since they always just have to speak in French with the French guys).

The shortest French guy (who we nicknamed Hedgehog) wanted to dance with Cora for her birthday:

We had a delicious lunch of steak and veggies, and then it was time to hit the pool! There really is nothing like a cool pool to jump into when it is over 100 degrees F and the equatorial sun (well, almost equatorial – the sun is much closer to equatorial here than in Minnesota anyway) is beating down on you. Cora, Jen, Carla, and I tried our hand at synchronized swimming (Mollie was the designated judge and photographer) – this picture is after one of our (very short) “shows”. We also had a hand-stand contest in the pool.

All five of us enjoying another glass of wine in the pool:

One of the staff members jumped in the pool for a little while to cool off, too, since we were the only ones around (all the French guys had gone off for their late afternoon hunt).

After chilling in the pool for a while – yes, I actually did get goosebumps! – we decided it was time to head back to Jen’s village since it was about a 5-6 km hike there.

Long story short, we got picked up later that evening and went back to the campement since they were having Senegalese drummers and dancers there to entertain the French guys (and us apparently!). When we got back to the campement the women were so dressed up – and we were so NOT dressed up, as is evident in the photos; it was so obvious that the five of us live in rural villages (well, except Mollie) while these women live in Dakar and Thiès when they’re not at the campement. Some of the women’s high heels even came from Italy (we had to ask because they looked so nice). Soon after the drummers got to the campement, the women pulled us into their room and told us to change into the extra wrap skirts they had because they’re much better to dance in. So all of us (including the Senegalese women, too) changed into skirts to dance in – and we got a quick dance lesson at the same time. We were continually blown away all evening at how these women could move their butts – I’ve noticed this before (ex. my host mom!), but I swear these women have way more muscles in their butts than we do, or at least they know how to use their muscles there way more than we do. Once the drumming started at least half the villagers from the nearby town came to watch. It was great! And then, to top things off, the (French) owners of the campement had the French guys put on traditional Senegalese women’s clothes and dance with the Senegalese women!

(A lot of these pictures are blurry because the settings on Cora’s camera got messed up and she didn’t realize it until later in the night - and it was dark out.)

Mollie just after getting changed: (yes that is Bob Marley on the skirt)

We’re all set to hit the dance floor!

Oh but first, we need a quick dance lesson.

Jen and I warming up:

Walking from the changing room to the dance floor (which was right next to the pool):

Carla dancing:




(No one got a picture of Cora dancing since Cora was the only one who brought a camera, but she definitely danced, too!)

A couple of the French guys in the traditional outfits, dancing and having a grand ol’ time:

They’re still dancing – and all the Senegalese people looking on were loving it!

But they loved it even more when this woman danced, because she could really move!

Cora and Hedgehog:

Jen helping Mollie untie her wrap skirt when we were all done dancing:

Whew, we’re tired, but, as Carla’s double thumbs up indicates, we sure had a great time!

The next morning Cora whipped out some stuff to do with the kids in Jen’s family – I entertained them by blowing bubbles. Not sure when the last time was that I did that, but it sure was fun! And I managed to only get a little soap in my eyes… :)

1 comment:

  1. I believe the last time we blew bubbles was at the Woolum's house a little while before you left Denver last summer. Oh good times :)