Kedougou-last day in Senegal.

Here at the local Cyber Cafe. Most of the users are young boys, ten to 14 years old playing car and truck driving game, but I see one or two other games being played. The computer I always use (because it’s the only one with a US keyboard) has next to it game playing kids. Typically two kids manning the controls and two or three observers. At least today the owner is chasing some of the ones pressing against me away; but he’s only having partial success, they quickly reappear. The owner preparing an invoice for a customer, i.e., a word processor operator. And we’ve seen two or three Peace Corps volunteers who’ve come into town apparently for a meeting at the local headquarters. We talked to some of them. Three who bicycled 50 km or so from their villages. They spend three months just learning the local language and getting familar with the local culture before starting their projects.
We’re staying at the Chez Diao which is about 300m from the central market on a larger dirt road. Fortunately not on one of the main through roads (although we probably wouldn’t have stayed here if it was). Five or six huts with shower and sink, but shared toilets in a separate building. Meals in a covered but open area, much like you’d find in Mexico. Showers are cold, but not bad here as it’s hot and water isn’t too cold.
Last night we went to the Relais Kedougou for dinner as suggested by the Peace Corps volunteers. The Relais is fancy place with gardens and is a bit out of town and about three times more expensive than our place. We had western style meals which was a real treat. Baguette with butter–first time we’ve had butter. Sometimes margarine at breakfast, but never butter or with dinner. Then tomatos, shredded carrots with mustard vinagrette dressing. Wow, so many fresh vegetable. We ate it all. Some concern about risk from fresh vegetables; but the fact that there is city water, general cleanliness, and the fact that it is a hotel catering to higher end clients gave us confidence. And we feel fine today, so apparently OK. Followed by chicken in Louisa’s case and wild warthog in mine. The warthog is supposed to be like wild pigs, so tasted like pork roast. Tasted great and was probably more meat than we’ve eaten total in the last two or three weeks. Served with a large portion of green beans. Apple tart for desert in my case, and water melon, banana, and orange it Louisa’s. A real treat after a month of simple maafi, rice, baguettes, etc. Of course we’ve had some other good food, but this was a nice change.
As I mentioned before there don’t seem to be any trash pick up here; but yesterday some residents were gathering up and burning the trash collected along the street, but outside their compound walls. The smoke and dust from mostly dirt roads was thick last night.
Found immigration yesterday. One guy sitting under a tree near a sign that said halt. We’d walked by it but hadn’t realized it immigration. We were told that was the place at the police station about 100m beyond. The guy gave us some minor grief for not having checked in in Segou, the first town we were in in Senegal. Segou was about five building, none marked officially in any way. We had talked to several people in town buying lunch and food supplies asking directions; they all knew where we’d come from and they didn’t say anything about immigration. But the official did stamp our passports (no visa required for US citizens). He may have been upset that we’d been in country for a week without checking in too.
While walking to the Cyber Cafe yesterday we decided to come by way of the mosque which we could see. Louisa saw some old guys sitting near the front under a giant baobob tree waiting for prayers that would begin shortly and seripticiously took some video. We then walked by and they greeted us. I asked about taking a photo and they were happy to oblige. Asked us to send a copy via the Imam.
Tomorrow up early for our two leg journey to Mali (the country). Both legs are about four hours. Even if we make in time to Tambacounda there’s not assurance we’ll find a taxi leaving midday, but it’s the main road crossing Senegal which connects to the main road in the western part of Mali. With luck we’ll be in Kayes, Mali tomorrow night.

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