Friday, July 18
Nioro, Senegal

The rainy season in central Senegal just began a few weeks ago. Folks who live here are always happy to see the skies open up, since many depend on agriculture to make a living.

Check out the reaction of these kids when it poured this afternoon! The loud noise in the video is the rain hitting the sheet-metal roof.

I’m staying in Nioro, near the Gambian border, with Chris, a recent Colby College (my alma mater) graduate who is serving in the Peace Corps as a business volunteer. He lives here with a Senegalese family, so I’ve joined their clan — two parents, four young kids and a cousin — for a few days.

Chris, who goes by his Senegalese name Moussa, has introduced me to some excellent Senegalese snacks. At the market this morning, we sucked on frozen bissap, or hibiscus juice, then slurped smoothie-like drinks called Buy (that’s Wolof), made from Monkey Bread, the fruit of the baobab tree.

His Senegalese mother has prepared the best food I’ve eaten so far in the country. Here’s the group during lunch today:

Lunch -- rice and fish balls -- with Chris Senegalese family.
Lunch — rice and fish balls — with Chris’ Senegalese family.

This morning, we took a bush taxi to Porokhane, a nearby town, to walk through the weekly market. We bought some meat for dinner, then asked a man who owned a sewing shop to create for me a messenger bag, which he made on the spot for CFA 2,000, about $5. A few shots:

Chris buys beef

Chris buys beef

Market sewer makes me a bag!

Market sewer makes me a bag!

Tomorrow I’m off to Tambacounda…