Another out of order posting. Chronologically, our first day in Senegal.
Everything isn’t a traveling (mis)adventure. Upon arriving in Dindefelo, we went to the first campement (usually a small complex of huts and a central covered eating area. Some are also the family compound, others are more commercial) run by Mr. Camara and his family. We were the only guests while we were there. He also is a guide, so we hired him for the next two days. He took us to the local waterfalls which were quite nice. A 100-ft. drop over shale (or similar). We then hiked up on the rim past a couple of small villages and then dropped over the edge to some large caves. There was a large conical shaped basket on a stand that was somehow used to make gunpowder–if we understood the explanation. Further around the rim and then down on another trail. The trail was rocky and steep. We had been directed by one person to go this way to Dindefelo with our bikes until his friend said it would be too difficult with bikes. We would have ended up carrying our bikes and luggage in stages. Coming up the trail were students returning home. A rocky steep climb and several kilometers to and from school. In rubber sandals of course. A nice hike and change from riding.
The campement provided us with a rather unique experience. The floor of our hut had a thin layer of concrete, but we noticed an odd dark stain in the middle of the floor. Looked like oil recently spilled. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I was surprised to find an 8-in. high termite mound being built where the stain was. In the morning the termites were gone. M. Camara scrapped off the mound and poured more oil or poison down the little holes. And then put a thin layer of concrete over the area (without thoroughly cleaning the mud off). When the concrete dried there were still small holes which the termites used the next night for trying to rebuild their mound. Didn’t get as far since they had less access. The mound looked like a mud sponge.
The next day we packed up and Monsieur Camara borrowed a one-speed and we headed to Ibel, 20 km away across the plain. Good biking. Small roads/trails with little sand. At Ibel we parked our bikes and headed a small mountain to a Bedick village. The Bedick are another tribe that hid in the highlands from Moslem invaders. About 900 ft. above the plain and they had to carry water up to the village. The village (and another Bedick village we visited) appeared to be losing population. No wonder with no water and poor soil. The Bedick have a beautiful architecture for their huts. And the few people in the village (depopulation and people working in the fields) showed us some of the traditional grain grinding methods and clothing. Interesting and depressing at the same time–because they’re basically performing for tourists while losing their way of life. Although it’s a tough life and life on the plains is probably easier.
We then continued down the main road to a another campement.The campement was nice but the hostess at Chez Liontine was rather charmless, but maybe it was because she was also nursing an infant and running the campement. Every women of child bearing age seems to be carrying a child on her back.