I spent New Year’s Eve in Kaymor last year. To my surprise, my host family did nothing special at all for New Year’s and while I didn’t not enjoy it (we treated it just like any other night, so I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoy any other night in Kaymor, which is to say that I enjoyed it because it was quiet and relaxing but didn’t really enjoy it like I really enjoy most other New Year’s Eves because because it was boring), I knew I didn’t want to do that again this year. I thought about going up to Dakar or Saint Louis because there are big celebrations there on New Year’s Eve that a lot of PCVs go to, but I ended up deciding to go to Toubacouta with a few other PCVs for several reasons: it is closer to Kaymor and I had a lot of work to do in Kaymor, I knew it would be a lot quieter and therefore a lot safer in many ways, and it would be a lot cheaper (I didn’t want to spend my entire month’s “salary” over the course of 2 days). The morning of New Year’s Eve, 3 other PCVs (Cora, Jen, and Teresa) and I took a car from Kaolack to Toubacouta, where we met a few other PCVs that live in that region. We got bread, Laughing Cow cheese, bananas, and cookies and made ourselves a picnic lunch in one of our bedroom/huts. Then we headed over to the nicest campement in Toubacouta, Keur Saloum, where a lot of French and other Europeans were spending their holiday. We spent the late afternoon and evening on their veranda, drinking, munching on peanuts, chatting, playing a card game, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. (I think you can see from the pictures why I decided to stay here with my parents and sister when they visited me.)
Then we headed back to our rooms to freshen up before going out to dinner. Almost all of us had the “demi-poulet” plate, which is half a chicken with salad and fries. Then it was back to Keur Saloum, where we chatted away the last hour or so of 2010. I don’t know about anyone else, but I always find the transition into a new year rather anti-climatic, and this year was no exception: there was no ball for us to watch drop, there was no announcement over the music playing at Keur Saloum, and there was no explosion of fireworks when the clock struck midnight. Since all of our watches had slightly different times, we just agreed on a middle ground and had our own little cheers of “Happy new year!” when we thought it was midnight. Several minutes later fireworks started going off not too far away, but they were really sad fireworks – there was only about one blast of fireworks every 45 seconds or so, as if they had to recharge after each one. Even though they were not very good fireworks, I was impressed that we were able to see them at all.