One day we made a trip out to a village that was about 2 hours outside of Dakar. The organisation we were with works with this village and supports them with acquiring resources (i.e grain grinding machine) and sustainment.
I was holding this little one until after a few minutes he clued in that he didn’t know me than became fussy. I gave him back to his mother of course. I quickly snapped this once he settled down.
After spending 3 weeks in Dakar Christine and I were set to go to the Casamance region specifically Ziguinchor (in southern Senegal) for 2 weeks. There is a branch of the organisation there that works with selected villages to rebuild after prolonged civil unrest which displaced a lot of the inhabitants. Senegal is a pretty stable country overall but the Casamance region has been experiencing civil unrest since 1990.
At my time of visiting the violence had peaked in 2005 however there were some isolated cases of rebels robbing tourists who drove in that region. So you can imagine how I felt when I learned that we were no longer taking a boat ride down but driving. Especially since earlier that week a group of tourists were robbed. The day before we were supposed to go we almost didn’t as we were waiting to hear about the safety of the trip. In the end we were cleared to go. I was assured that we would be fine and so I went along with it. I never told my mom this.
Over the 2 weeks in Casamance we visited 10 villages and saw the work they were doing to rebuild. This included building schools, wells, medical buildings and providing medical supplies like bandages, gauze etc. Every summer they have a group of people come and assist with rebuilding. They choose a different village every year. I am still in touch with our boss while we were in country, Joe, and I will ask him if this is still taking place. The project usually last for roughly 3-4 weeks and takes place in August.
With every village we visited the first thing was to speak to the chief to show respect. Joe our boss is amazing, he speaks I’m sure like 7-8 languages. During these meetings he would be translating what was being said in a minimum of 3-4 languages. The way in which they work with the villages is that each has a main volunteer that looks after them specifically. They report any issues directly to that person who funnels the information back to the organisation. However, each village is empowered to engage in the work that is being done on their land. They take ownership over it and actively participate.
On our off time we went to Cap Skirring for two days which is a cosy beach side resort town. We almost had the entire beach to ourselves, there were more cows there than people and is the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever been to. It is popular with Europeans and of course the French.
Part 1: Senegal – the beginning
Part 3: Senegal – saying goodbye