Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mangiy niibii

After 2 years in Senegal, mangiy niibii.  (I am going home.)  Well, going home via Kenya, so I'll be back in the states in May.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Am nanu bibliotheque bi!

The library project has been a complete success.  The school followed through with its agreement to build the library building, complete with a room for the librarian looking out onto the library room.  Once this was completed, we commissioned bookshelves and tables to be built by a local woodworker.  Meanwhile, during 7 long days (accomplished in 2 trips to Dakar), I worked with one of my Senegalese friends to purchase the books.  This was no simple process.  Each day, we’d leave his house around 10 am to walk to the market.  This particular market was known as a blackmarket with lots of “bandits,” but books could be bought cheaply and in good condition.  If fact, some books were still in their original packaging, but could be purchased at nearly half the price of a new book.  I don’t know where these books originated from (people stealing them, overstock in a factory/book store, the fact that the stallowners didn’t have to pay for the nice environment and employees at a bookstore), but it allowed me to buy many more books with the amount of money I had.

When bargaining for anything in Senegal, it’s important not to be in a rush.  We’d arrive, greet the stall owners, joke around, and then get down to business.  We’d state a few of the books we were looking for that day, and Mor (the main man we were working with) would go locate these books.  Essentially, he’d walk around the market and find other stall owners who had the books that we wanted, buy them at a very cheap price (since they help each other out and sell at-price or with a very small margin of profit), return with the requested number of a particular book, and then sell them to us a higher price.  In the meantime, we’d go to other stall owners near by, check out their stock, and request other books on our list.  It was all a competition between stall owners to have us buy from them.  They would make deals with us or promise us better prices than their neighbors.  And they were all very sneaky; sometimes, one stall owner would stand nearby as we were trying to work out a deal with a different stall owner, so that he’d know how much we were paying.

We’d organize a stack of books that we wanted, and then my friend would begin the bargaining process.  Though I’ve gotten fairly good at bargaining and often do it for my group of friends, I can’t compare to a native Senegalese.  I just sat quietly while he began to speak about the price.  First, he’d claim that it was too high, to which the stall owner would ask what he was willing to pay.  My friend would quote an exorbitantly low price, and the stall owner would reply that that wasn’t possible, but he wants to continue doing business with us so he’d lower it.  This would go back and forth for awhile, often with long breaks to joke about each other’s last time or to comment on something that was going on.  Finally, we’d arrive at an affordable price, and we’d agree to buy the books.  In general, pleasure books cost the equivalent of $1, literature for French class were $2, dictionaries were $4, textbooks were $3-8, and non-fiction books were $2-5.  At first, we paid slightly more than these prices, but we quickly learned how low we could get the stall owner to go (and each time we got one man to go lower, we told the next man, and he’d go even lower).  By the end, we had an effective system.

We would then ask for a box, and they’d fill an old carton with the books.  We would then either continue with the same stall owner or move to another one.  As my friend enjoyed saying, he wanted to give everyone a taste of our money.  And, with about $6,000 to spend in the market, we were bringing in a fortune, and everyone wanted us to check out their stock.  My favorite was when we were purchasing pleasure books.  Then I could peruse the choices on the shelves and find books that I wanted the library to contain.  My friend and the stall owners all laughed at me; they don’t really understand the concept of pleasure reading, but I enjoyed finding gems among their collections.  I’d look for classics that I loved growing up.  We also bought lots of African literature.  And, I’d get excited whenever I’d find a fun non-fiction book that I thought the students would like.  We got a nice chronology of events that occurred by year; though he only had 13 of the years between 1863 and today, it was still a great find.

Shopping in the market was really a matter of luck; we never knew what we’d actually find, and every day there were new items.  We’d arrive, and stall owners would approach us with books to check out.  Often, they were on obscure subjects or for very small children; many of the stall owners don’t understand what they’re selling and often can’t read French (in the market, Arabic seems to be more common to read).  We thus had to continuously repeat what we were interested in, but also to appear pleased so that they would continue to look for books for us and to sell them at a good price.  It was all a game.  I was thankful to have been accompanied because I certainly wouldn’t have played it right by myself.

In total, I purchased or had organizations donate over 3,000 books (pleasure books and textbooks).  After my first return from Dakar, I was worried about the number of books; the bookshelves looked fairly empty.  But when I returned the second time and we placed the books on the shelves, I was ecstatic to see that the shelves were almost completely full (and there are still a few book donations on their way)!  As the secretary put it, Am nanu bibliotheque bi!  (We have a library!)  As we unpacked all the books from the boxes, organized them, glued due date forms to the back of the books, stamped the books with the school name, and organized them alphabetically, the school director, secretary, and a few teachers came out to help.  Numerous teachers and students couldn’t help stopping by as well to see what books there were and to inquire when they could start taking them out.  They were all eager to begin reading.

On the first day of the library opening, before students could even take out books, 10 library cards had been bought.  As of last week, over 160 students and all the teachers had purchased library cards to use the resources; every day, more are purchasing them.  A card costs the equivalent of $0.40 for students and $2 for teachers, and allows yearlong access to take out books and sit in the library to use the books.  Whenever I enter the library, it is packed with students studying at the tables during their 2-hour breaks between classes while a line forms out the door with students checking out or returning books.  The secretary is so happy; he says this is much better than students going home to fool around or do chores at home during the break.  He claims they have no excuse now not to succeed.

And certainly this is the case.  Before the library, students only had access to 2 of the books they must read for French class during all of high school.  The rest they learned by the teacher explaining the characters and plots, which they’d record in their notebooks and then be tested on.  Now they have access to actually read the books.  The same applies for textbooks.  A few copies of textbooks were available, but not for every student and not for every subject.  Now, any student can borrow a textbook for 5 days to read more about the subject or complete extra exercise.  And, students are also reading for fun.  I was so happy when I walked in one day and saw a few students sitting with smiles on their faces as they read.  When time arrived for their class, they silently stood up, returned the book to the shelf, collected their bag from the librarian’s office, and continued on their way.

The library also is great.  He is so devoted to his job.  In a country where people arrive late, leave early, take long breaks, and don’t work much, he is the complete opposite.  I have worked with him from 8-2:30 straight, then returned at 4 to find him already at work, and then left at 7 with him still working.  (The school day is 8-1, 3-7; he had worked 8-2:30, 3-8.)  When he puts the books away, he takes extra care to ensure they’re all standing up straight and that the layout of the books on the shelves looks pretty.  He carefully records the books borrowed and returned, explains the library policy to students purchasing library cards, and chides students who return the book with bent pages.  He quickly caught on to the idea of alphabetization, and he’s eager to attend a library training soon in the regional capital.  I know that the library will thrive under his supervision.

So, after being open for about a month, the library is already providing valuable services to the students and teachers.  They are all so happy to have these books, and I can’t stop smiling whenever I walk into the room.  Books have formed such an important part of my life, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with them.  This is by far my most successful project.

On March 22, the school will host the official inauguration of the library.  School inspectors from the district and regional capitals will be present as well as local government officials.  I can’t wait for the library to get even more publicity within the community and hopefully 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nu dem jang leggi?

I want to start off by apologizing for the lack of blog posts recently; I’ve been very busy in village with work projects and trying to spend as much time with my host family and friends there since I only have two months left.

My village is very small and most children are not in the French school (a lot of children go to the Koranic school in my village instead or spend all day working or playing).  Thus, there are only two teachers; one teachers the youngest two grades (kindergarten and 1st grades), and one teaches the oldest two grades (3rd and 5th grades); there are about 50 kids in total, the majority being in the youngest classes with only 9 students in 5th grade.  I spend an hour in each room and have taught lessons on nutrition, dental health, hygiene, malaria, basic illnesses, and much more.  There’s something really wonderful about teaching to a group of students who all know and love you, and who you know everyone in their family.

The last lesson I taught the younger classes was about nutrition.  I used the go, grow, glow model, which is a simplified way of explaining a healthy diet.  There are foods to go (sugars/oils), grow (protein-rich foods), glow (fruits/vegetables), and then the staple foods (rice/bread/couscous).  I drew this model as a 3-legged chair; go, grow, and glow are the three legs to hold the healthy baby on the seat containing the staple food.  To get the students to understand what foods fall into each category, I drew pictures of the food item and called students up.  Based upon which category it fell into, they had to perform an action.  For staple items, they blew out their cheeks and put out their arms to look fat; for go, they ran in place; for grow, they showed their biceps; and for glow, they had to slap their legs and fake laugh.  It was hilarious to watch.  I even drew in some teenagers who were passing outside; they heard the noise, looked in the room, and took a seat to learn the information.  These younger kids also remember the song I taught them last year about malaria, a ditty I had made up on the spot about the symptoms of malaria.  Sometimes, when I walk in to teach them, they stand up and start singing it to me.

I teach the older classes in the afternoon, when they are not scheduled to be in school.  I arranged with the teacher so that a student has access to the key to open the classroom door, and I start class at 4.  As soon as the children finish eating lunch, around 2:30 or 3, they come to my door to see if I am ready to go to school.  Nu demjangleggi?  (We go to learn now?)  These kids all love to learn.  They then sit and play in my compound until the designated time, when they escort me and carry my baggage to the school.  They are so eager to be taught by me.  Though they can get a bit rowdy, they are all ready to listen when I slap an eraser against a desk (much more effective than a ruler, which I’ve broken twice now).  Most recently, I taught them about the importance of hand washing and sanitation.  Most of them seemed to understand the information, though there were several concepts that the students just couldn’t get.  I explained germs, how they spread, and how they’re invisible to the eye.  All the students then agreed that the floor was dirty.  But to see if I’d proven my point, I dropped a peanut on the ground, picked it up, and asked if I should eat it.  Immediately, all hands shot up, but not to answer the question; they all wanted me to offer the peanut to them to eat.  That lesson was clearly not effective.  But I have gotten through to them on other areas.  Last year, I had taught a lesson about the importance of washing cuts and wounds.  Sometimes, the kids literally drag a friend to my room to have me wash it with soap and water.  And they enjoy tattling on each other for having wounds.  While they may not necessarily be practicing these measures all the time, it shows me that they understand what should be done and hopefully will pass these best practices on to their friends and families.

Also, amazingly, when my hour is done with them (and this is an additional hour to their scheduled school times), they don’t want to leave the room.  They all sit there and beg me to teach them more, write math problems on the board, or write a text for them to read out loud.  These children love to learn, but unfortunately, most read very slowly (without any comprehension of the words they’re reading in French) and cannot solve even simple math.  It’s not them, it’s the system they’re stuck in.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Education, am na solo

I have a Girls' club at the local middle/high school.  The girls are the recipients of the Michelle Sylvester Scholarship, a program organized by Peace Corps to provide inscription fees and some school supplies for high-achieving, motivated girls whose families lack the means to pay for her education.  The goal is to encourage them to continue their education and to show the families the importance of learning.  I have extended the scholarship program from merely a disbursement of materials to a weekly program.  Last year, it consisted of 9 girls, and this year it has doubled in size from the additional scholarship girls.

Towards the end of last year, I asked the girls to write poems about the importance of education.  This blogpost is devoted to the youth in Senegal who strive to learn despite numerous roadblocks.  I have included their poems below.  They had never read or written a poem before, but the message they express is very powerful.  They wrote them in French, so I have included the original French version, followed by a translation.  (I merely plugged the document into Google Translate, so I apologize for any glaring translation errors.)  Education, am na solo.  (Education is important.)

J’ai un rêve par Rokhy Ba

J’ai un rêve qu’un jour, tous les femmes deviennent les meilleurs que les hommes sur l’éducation.

Je voudrai qu’elles aient un jour les meilleurs place que les hommes sur l’éducation.
J’ai un rêve.
J’ai un rêve qu’un jour les femmes blanches et les femmes noires soient dans les mêmes pieds d’égalité.

J’ai un rêve.
J’ai un rêve qu’un jour tous les enfants des pauvres et des riches soient égaux.

J’ai un rêve.
J’ai un rêve qu’un jour tout les femmes et les enfants répètent : la liberté, la liberté, la liberté.
OH mon dieu, nous sommes libre.

L’éducation sur un Élève par Souadou Cisse

L’éducation sur un élève, il lui permet d’avoir tous ceux qu’il veut dans le monde.

Dès fois, les gens dites : « Travaille plus discipline égale réussir ».

L’élève qui avoir de l’éducation, il permet que ces professeurs lui respectent de même que les autres élèves.

Si un élève a un éducation, il peut-être n’importe quelle école, CEM ou lycée et il peut être n’importe où

C’est pour cela avoir une éducation est bonne

L’éducation pour fille ou garçon ou autre par Awa Ndiaye
Pour l’éducation.  Il faut être d’aller a l’école jusqu'à l’université pour avoir du bon travaille.

Il faut être apprendre.
Pour les voyage, ou bien pour lire ou écris.

Si vous n’avez pas apprendre, il y a des gens qui ne peut pas donnée du respect.
Comme tu n’a pas de travaille
Respect son travaille.

Pour apprendre jusqu'à l’université.
C’était pour qui puis comprend.
Et guide les personnes.

Pourquoi l’éducation est bonne
Parce que tu vas dans un autre pays tu peut être là.  Ou bien si veux lire une lettre.

Adama Mendy
L’éducation est bonne
Elle nous fait connaitre beaucoup de chose
Elle nous renseigne dans le monde ou nous sommes

L’éducation est bonne, l’éducation est bonne
Car il nous guide
Elle nous montre le chemin

J’aime l’éducation
Je l’aime de tout mon cœur
Et je l’adore

L’éducation est bonne, elle est bonne, bonne, bonne,
Grâce a l’éducation
Je peux lire et écrire

J’aime l’éducation, j’aime l’éducation, j’aime l’éducation
Je ne savais rien en naissant
Maintenant je connais beaucoup

J’aime l’éducation
L’éducation même
Je consacre toute ma vie sur l’éducation

J’aime mon école.par Lena Thioye
            Ho mon école !
                        Ho mon bon endroit !
                                    Toi qui m’a appris comment étudier

Chers parents
            Ho parents
                        Je me vous demande rien
                                    Que de faire attention
                                                Aux études de vos enfants

L’école nous a appris comment :
            Comment écrire.
                        Elle nous a donnée.
                                    Une bonne étude de base

Donnez nous le temps.
            S’il te plaît !
                        D’apprendre jusqu'à
                                    L’université !

Pour avoir un bon travail
            Un travail fort

Arrêtez le mariage precours.
            Le mariage force.
                        Ho quel tardement
                                    Quelle coupure d’étude

Que vous faites vos filles
            Ca ne vous donne pas de rendement
                        Ni de récolte
                                    Ho laissez les filles

Pour demain.
            Qu’elles seraient quelqu’une
                        Pour vous aidez
                                    Regrettez la maltraité
                                                Aidez nos familles

                                                            S’il te plaît !

I have a dream by Rokhy Ba
I have a dream that one day all women become the best men on education.

I would like one day they have the best place men on education.
I have a dream .
I have a dream that one day white women and black women are the same feet of equality.

I have a dream .
I have a dream that all children rich and poor are equal day.

I have a dream .
I have a dream that one day all the women and children repeat : freedom , freedom , freedom .
Oh my god, we are free .

Education on Student by Souadou Cisse

Education on a student , it allows him to have anyone he wants in the world.

Once again, people say: "Work more discipline equal success."

Students who have education, it allows these teachers respect him as well as other students.

If a student has an education , it can be any school , college or EMC and it can be anywhere

That is why having a good education is

Education for girl or boy or another by Awa Ndiaye

For education. It should be going to school to university to have a good working .

Must be learned.
For travel , or to read or write.

If you do not learn , there are people who can not given respect.
Since you do not have a working
Respect his works .

To learn to university.
It was then that to understand.
And guide people .

Why education is good
Because you go to another country you can be there. Or if want to read a letter.

Adama Mendy
Education is good
It makes us know a lot of thing
She tells us in the world where we are

Education is good , education is good
Because it guides us
It shows us the way

I love education
I love with all my heart
And I love it

Education is good, it is good, good, good,
Thanks to education
I can read and write

I love education , I love education , I love education
I knew nothing at birth
Now I know many

I love education
The same education
I spend my whole life on Education

I love my school by Lena Thioye

Ho my school !
Ho my right place!
You taught me how to study

Dear Parents
Ho Parents
I ask you nothing
What to watch
For your children's education

The school taught us how :
How to write .
It has given us.
A good baseline

Give us time .
To learn to
University !

To get a good job
A strong work

Stop preschool marriage.
Forced marriage .
Ho what tardement
What cut study

You do your daughters
It does not give you performance
Or harvest
Ho let the girls
were studying

For tomorrow.
They would some one
To help you
Regret the abused
Help our families


Friday, December 13, 2013

Senegal, sama reo, dafa neex

Senegal is known to be a country of hospitality, and this is something I’ve certainly witnessed during my time in Senegal.  This blog post is dedicated to all those wonderful men, women, and children who help to make Senegal such a welcoming and peaceful country.

A few months ago, I had some time between a meeting at the school and a meeting with a women’s group.  I was hungry and had some paperwork I wanted to fill out, so I bought a mango and found a shady place to sit.  I sat down on a brick and began devouring my mango, planning out an upcoming activity as I ate.  Soon, a group of children approached me and stood around, watching and laughing at me.  I didn’t mind; the mango was delicious.  But a man passing by saw this group of children and told them to continue on their way and to leave me alone.  I finished my mango, washed my hands with some of my water, and took out my notebook.  As I was pulling it out, a woman came out of a nearby compound.  She’d heard the children and came to investigate for herself.  She began to ask me lots of questions: What’s your name?  Where are you from?  Where do you live?  Who’s your father?  Who’s your mother?  Do you go to the fields?  Where’s your husband?  Can you cook?  Do you do your own laundry?  What are you doing?  What are you writing?  I was concentrating on what I was writing, so I gave her very short answers.  She’d ask me  string of questions, fall silent for a bit, and then launch into some more.  I was beginning to get a bit annoyed by her, but finally it was time for my next meeting.  I packed up my bag and told the woman I was leaving.  She urged me to stay for lunch (it was only 11:00 – lunch is not until at least 2:00).  When I declined, she told me to have a good day and said she’d return to her house now since she had only come outside to keep me company, so that I wouldn’t be lonely.  I hadn’t realized she was trying to help me.

People are equally generous on public transportation.  Passengers sit with other passenger’s children on their laps for hours.  Young men willingly give up their seat to older people or me, and inside stand outside the car, hanging on or sit on the roof.  Two weeks ago, the car I was in stalled.  Three men got out of the car to help check out the engine and then helped push the car for a few minutes so that the speed would help the car start.  Today, when a boy vomited in the car, a woman gave up her kerchief to another man who wiped the mouth of the boy while his mother held her other child on her lap.  Last week, a woman needed to stop to go to the bathroom.  She passed her baby to another passenger, got out of the car, went into the market, and then took her baby back when she returned.

One morning during rainy season, I was walking to the weekly market.  All of a sudden, it began to pour.  I ran into the nearest compound.  The woman offered me a seat and insisted on buying me a bean sandwich and coffee for breakfast.  I sat there for three hours while I waited for the rain to stop.  I have stopped at many compounds, greeted the family, and asked for water.  If I pass a compound around lunch time, they offer for me to stay and eat lunch.  If it is late in the evening, they offer for me to stay the night.  If I pass a compound while they’re drinking tea or snacking on peanuts, I’m instantly offered some.  Once, I had to go to the bathroom while I was in public transportation.  I asked the driver to stop so that I could go in the bushes.  The driver insisted on continuing just a bit further to where a compound was located.  I walked into the compound, greeted them, and asked where the bathroom was located.  I was given a pot of water and pointed to the room; they didn’t ask me any questions.

I can think of so many examples of Senegalese sharing food and drink, even when they can barely afford to feed themselves.  Or of Senegalese giving up their beds and rooms so that a guest can be properly hosted while they sleep on the floor in another room.  No matter where they are, they try to help everyone around them.  They may do so with lots of teasing and raised voices, but it is all well-intentioned.  A popular Senegalese song sings about returning to Senegal and asking a ship captain to return her to her native country; all Senegalese feel pride in how well they treat their guests and each other.  As the song says, “Senegal, sama reo, dafa neex.”  (Senegal, my country, is nice.)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Doo xar ane?

Yesterday morning, I decided to visit a village about an hour bike ride from me.  I had worked with this village to teach them how to successfully create and maintain a vegetable garden; a local NGO had given them the money to build a fence and purchase materials but had neglected the important fact of training the women in the necessary skills.  Last year, I visited them about twice a month to provide advice and check on the garden’s status.  However, since the rainy season began in early July I have not been back for two reasons: the dirt paths have large holes that are often filled with water making biking very difficult and the women are all in their fields working rather than in the garden or at their homes.  I’ve seen some of the women at the weekly market or in town, and they’ve asked when I’ll come visit them again.  I decided that it was finally time for me to return.

The cold season has begun, so nights and mornings have become chilly.  So I pulled myself out of my sleeping bag, went to fetch water to shower (the water left in the bucket overnight is too cold to shower with in the morning, and I prefer the warmer water from the tap – my host family boils water to mix in with the tap water so that it’ll be even warmer to shower with), and left my village around 8.  After a stop at my favorite bean sandwich lady in the nearby town for a delicious breakfast of beans on bread with a cup of quinquilliba coffee (not sure why it’s called coffee-it’s actually a leaf tea, and I get it mixed with milk, so it’s a delicious way to start the day), I headed down the dirt path to the village.  I love this bike ride because the paths are not well traveled so I can get lost in my thoughts as I go.  I have to pass through one village on the way (a Pulaar-speaking village), and they all called to me by name as they see me and commented that it’s been awhile.  I was nearly at my destination when I saw a group of women heading toward me on the path.  I realized they’re from the village I’m going to, but they were all headed to the field to harvest their peanuts.  I’d thought by getting my early start and arriving before 9:30, I’d be able to catch them before they left; then my main friend in the village would have remained with me for the day rather than heading to her field.  They informed me that she’d already left, and there were no women in the village.  Nonplussed, I continued into the village, greeted the men, left an oral message to greet my friend, and decided to continue further into the bush.

I’ve wanted to venture to these further villages for a while but never had the opportunity.  With no work to do in this village, I was excited to be able to explore and to roam around on my bike.  I asked for directions to a nearby large village and headed down that path.  Somehow, I must have missed a turn (there are lots of side trails off the main trails that villagers use to head to their fields), and I ended up on a narrow, very bumpy trail that is closed-in tightly by weeds.  I was enjoying the adventure though and continued until I saw a women working with her children in the fields.  I called to her and inquired about the village.  She instructed me to cut across a few fields (requiring me to walk my bike since the fields have heavily grooved in neat lines), and I soon met up with the main path.  I crossed through a small village and nearly an hour after I left my friend’s village, I entered this large village.  Here, too, all the women were in the field, and I stopped to speak to a group of men.  I asked them what village lay beyond theirs and inquired about the path.  I then continued to this next village.  When I arrived there, I stopped to speak to a group of men under a tree.  I asked them where the next village was, but they laughed.  I could take the path to my left, which would lead me into Gambia, or I could continue straight for a very short bit before I’d hit water.  This area has an extremely high water table at just 1.5 meters.  This encloses them from other Senegalese villages, but it allows them easy access to water for gardening; in the dry season, they have huge plots of onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, tomatoes, etc. that they sell at the Senegalese weekly markets but also as far away as Banjul.  They also have access to fresh fish as a result, which I’m reminded of as a donkey cart piled high with fish passes by.  I stand and talk with these men for awhile.  They asked about where I live, and then they inquired about friends and family who live in my village.  My village is just 400 people, yet several people knew members of my community.  We talked about my work, their village, and the harvest.  After awhile, I decided it’s time to head back.  Doo xar ane?  (You won't wait for lunch?)  They insisted that I should wait for lunch or at least until the women returned so that I could speak with them (and also for me to return and lead health lessons in their village), but I had my girls’ club in the afternoon and was a 2-hour bike ride from home.  I declined their offer and continued home.

I passed through the large village again, and the men inquired about my visit to the other village and also insist that I stay for lunch.  I declined again and continue on my way.  I decided to take a different path back to town to see new places.  It was hot by this point, and my water bottle was nearly empty.  The landscape was beautiful, and I enjoyed how spaced out the villages are, but my mouth was parched.  I was very happy when I passed through another village.  I stopped at a compound, greeted the woman, and asked for water.  She brought me out a full liter cup, and I stood there, gulping it down.  Meanwhile, other people in her house returned from the fields, and they all greeted me; no one as surprised at my presence in their compound drinking water.  I returned the now-empty cup to her, and she asked if I had a water bottle that she could fill.  I happily handed mine over.  She insisted that I should wait for lunch.  I thanked her, declined the offer, and continued on my way.  Finally, I reached the town and then continued to my village.  It was now 2:00, and I had arrived just in time for my first of the two lunches I always eat.  I was exhausted after having ridden my bike for nearly 5 hours, much of it through very sandy areas (and some parts so sandy I had had to walk my bike as I trudged through), but it was a great adventure.  It reminded me of how generous and welcoming Senegalese people are.