Benachin in Parcelles Assainies

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Jacob’s family welcomed us with open arms. At the car dealership we met Laurent and Janet, and then when we got back to the house we met the other two siblings, Angelique and Thomas. We also met their parents, otherwise known as Tante and Oncle. Like I said the house was huge. The neighbourhood felt very safe and there were always children playing outside, as well as groups of adults congregated having a natter.

This is the view from the top floor of the house:

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This is Laurent and Jacob messing on the laptop at the top level of the house:

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This is Benechin with baked fish, that Angelique cooked for us (Benechin is a basically a red rice, so it’s cooked in tomatoes, and spices, a bit like Jollof – for all those that know what Jollof is)

This is me, Jacob and Laurent (you can see Angelique’s hands) getting ready to chow down. When families eat together they eat from a tray that everyone dips in to. In my short time there I only saw silver trays and they all looked roughly the same.

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Whilst we were in Dakar Deborah went to a hairdresser’s to get Senegalese twists done. She had about 10 twists left to do and they twister stopped dead when the silver tray came out. Stylists and customers alike stopped what they were doing to eat from the silver tray.

They say it takes a community to raise kids. They certainly live by that in Senegal. Kids from the neighbourhood were often dropping in.

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This is in front of the house:

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Here are some more neighbourhood kids and Laurent playing jump rope with them:

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After he finished skipping I took a picture:

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When I went to leave (We were going to the market) the kids shouted after me, “AU REVOIR TATA!” TATA? Huh? I didn’t know what that meant, so I asked Deborah if she could figure it out. She said that they were saying I had big titties. Laurent later told me that it is like saying Auntie as opposed to Aunt. So, Tante turned into Tata!

This is on the way to the market:

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This is the market from afar:

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It was busy as hell!

After the market we made our way to one of Jacob’s Uncle’s house. They had invited us for dinner. They had a compound so different parts of the family would live in different apartments.This is where they live. (Its a bit fuzzy):

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This is the view from the roof of the compound (that’s me sitting in the chair)

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At the Uncle’s house we tried to pace ourselves with the food because we knew there would be more coming when we got back, and when you are offered food you HAVE to eat it or it’s considered rude. We ate and ate and ate till we were stuffed and until the very end Laurent would shovel food to our side of the tray, exclaiming, “Mangez!” (EAT!) When all the food on the tray was finished, why did he go and bring French stick and butter for us to eat on top of what we had already eaten? Oh my! I was so stuffed.

We leave the uncle’s house and then Jacob announces that we have to quickly get back and get ready because Janet is taking us to a pizza parlour. What? When I tell you those boys watched us eat til we were ready to explode, while they just picked at the food and then drop a bombshell like that. We couldnt believe it. He knew what was planned the whole time and sat back and saved himself for pizza. I asked Jacob,

“How do you think we are gonna eat any more?”

He tried to put some guilt on us,

“We have to go. We are only going for you guys, because she hasn’t spent that much time with you.”

So we agreed.

When we got home it was late, so it was too late to go. We were so tired, so we went to go and lie down. 15 minutes into our nap Jacob bursts through the door of Angelique’s room, where we were sleeping,

“THE FOOD IS READY!”

Yes folks, we ate again Only an hour later! This time we shovelled food onto Laurent and told him to “MANGEZ!”

I must say the food was great. We ate every well while we were there. I still miss the French bread and ham in the mornings, and the cut up mango and coconut in the evenings.

Here are some pictures from our first night at CHEZ IBOU, a club in Dakar:

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Well, that’s all folks!

The only thing left to tell is how thought I was going to have to spend the night in Gambian village after the ferry back to Banjul was cancelled all day and evening, my battle with whether or not to get on a ferry that was packed like a slave ship, and my fear of drowning due to the fact that I can’t swim

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