Road Trip To Senegal

This may just be too much information, so if you don’t want to hear about bloody fannies, you need to press X riiiight now!

We leave the hotel at 6AM hoping to catch the ferry for 7. On arriving at the port in Banjul we pay 5 Dalasis for the ticket to get on the ferry and then waited in the holding area for about ten minutes before Jacob was approached by a man who spoke to him in Wolof. The man asked him if he was going to Dakar, to which Jacob replied that yes he was. The man said that he had a new car with air conditioning that he was driving to Dakar. He offered to take us for 400 Dalasis a head (£8.) We were delighted! Since our only plan was to jump in and out of cars/taxis and buses after getting off the ferry it was great that this man was going to take us all the way there on a journey that would take 8-9 hours for only £8!

I had started my period on Friday night and did not still expect to be bleeding too much, but I was. Whilst sitting in this man’s car waiting to board the ferry it occurred to me that it might be a great idea for me to use the toilet, as who knows when I would get to use on again. There was a public toilet not too far from the car, so that was where I headed.

The toilet was unlit and very dark with a strong stench that was mixed stale and fresh human waste. The toilet was not piled high but rather low. It was a slushy block of deep browny greyey goo. There was no tissue (luckily enough I always carry a bundle around with me) and no wastepaper basket. I squatted, held my breath and let the urine dilute the mixture a little. I then had to do a supersonic wipe before yanking my tampon string, and hurling the bloody tampon into the mixture (Hey! What does grey, brown and red make?) and entered another one in the fastest time I have ever done. I didn’t even have time to get a panty liner on, as I couldn’t hold my breath for much longer, and was starting to feel nauseous. I staggered out of there with my knicker elastic string all twisted up.

The car ends up boarding the ferry at about 8 am. After getting off we pass through Gambian village after Gambian village. We are reasonably comfortable because the car is quite large, the air conditioning is blasting and Deborah and I have the row to ourselves as Jacob bought an extra seat so that we could have more room. When we arrive at the border town Korrang we have to get out of the car as show our PAY-PAS! LOL. There is a makeshift customs area with a desk and roof. The officer in charge takes our passports and then starts walking behind the desk to another section with them. We can’t see him as there is a wall.

Deborah is not taking any chances with her passport and starts following him. She walks around the wall and follows him down another stretch. He is behind the long desk and she is in front of it walking alongside him. I can see this because I have fallen back so the wall is no longer obstructing my vision. I am laughing because if he is going to steal the passport, he is going to steal it, what the hell are we gonna do about it, except run to the British Embassy. Jacob is looking on in shock like what the hell is she doing? The officer turns around and tells her,

“Wait there.”

She replies,

“Im just seeing what you’re doing.”

The officer looks at her, confused. She doesn’t stop following him; she just doesn’t follow as closely. There are no problems. We get our passports stamped and then head back to the car. In the car I have some sanitary towels that I managed to pick up the night before. (It is hard to find tampons or thin sanitary towels.) So far they have acted as a pillow for my head on the journey. Yes they were that big and puffy. Now I have to use them as I have no tampons left.

Jacob accompanies me to find “a toilet.” It is a room about 5 feet square. There is no toilet bowl in there, just a concrete floor. I edge my way towards the dank unlit area slowly. I am wearing flip flops and the floor is noticeable wet and smelly. As it is really dark, I am not going to be able to shut the door for fear of being suffocated by blindness and stankness. Jacob is telling me to hurry, but something is stopping me from putting my foot on that concrete floor. I am clutching my tissue that I have peeled off from my stash and just standing there not knowing what to do.

I feel stupid. People piss where they have to piss all over the world daily, what are splatters of shit and piss between humans? I lean towards the room and place one flip flopped foot onto the concrete floor. I don’t know what possessed me to look down at the floor, but I did. Up close it wasn’t a pleasant sight at all. I start screaming like I’m on fire; there are hundreds and hundreds of mini maggot looking things slivering about. I’m screaming and screaming jumping up and down, shaking my legs like I’m doing the hokey cokey in case those critters have attached themselves to my feet. Jacob is looking at me in bewilderment. I think he thinks I’m hurt because he asks what is wrong, he soon realises that I am not and starts laughing.

Then from nowhere this child appears, a laughing girl child of about 9 years old. She looks from me to Jacob and back to me. Her presence stops my screaming but it’s too late because she has clearly seen it all. The sight of me screaming with tissue in hand has her in fits of laughter. She and Jacob exchange a few words and whatever he said has her creasing up in fits of laughter. She takes my hand and tries to lead me back to the mini maggot cesspit. Ahhhhhh Hell No! She shrugs her shoulders walks onto the slivery concrete floor without batting an eyelid, squats and she’s done. Once finished she comes out skipping and still laughing, probably wondering why a big old woman is scared to wee among the mini slivery maggots when she who is a fraction of my age is able to do it with ease.

Once she leaves I decide to just wee on some grass next to a wall opposite the offending concrete floor. Jacob is my shield, he stands a few metres away, around the corner a barrier to deter anyone from coming and seeing me with my ass hanging in the air.

Anyway enough toilet talk, it’s making me feel queasy. After my ordeal we hit the road. We sleep for most of it and are awoken by Jacob to find that were in Dakar. Although Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal, with it being bordered on three sides by Senegal, you can feel the difference between the two countries immediately. Everything looks newer and the colours are more vivid. It is around 4.30pm and the sun is shining brightly. The driver drops us off in front of a car dealership, where two of Jacobs cousins and an uncle work. Football fever is rampant in Senegal (as it is in Gambia, to my utter disappointment of course) and we spend the next half an hour watching a Brazil vs. Ghana footie match, before heading to the house that we are going to be staying at.
We arrive at Jacob’s cousin’s house about 6pm. They live in northern Dakar suburb of Parcelles Assainies.

The house is huge and cream coloured, set on three levels. The following picture is me on the top level, where we would sometimes eat our meals (I was only there for two days but we ate a hell of a lot of meals!)

In between the houses there are horses and goats just hanging out.

horsey21 300x225 Road Trip To Senegal

Even though Jacob had never meant this branch of his family, you would have never known. From the minute they met it was like they had all known each other forever.

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