A Little Peek

Isabel Najjar - Senegal


January 15, 2017

Hey friends! Here's a little peek into what I've been up to lately. Before I arrived, it was so hard to imagine what life would look like here, and I imagine a lot of you back home feel the same way. Hopefully these pictures and my notes can help to shed a little light.

My alarm clock/mortal enemy here in Segou. Along with chickens, the village is filled with goats, sheep, cows and donkeys. At first it felt so strange to see animals wandering through my family's open air kitchen and common spaces, but now I barely even notice.


​Home sweet home! This is my hut, or sudu, in Pulaar. My family's compound is made up of three huts like mine and two other concrete buildings. It's funny to think that in September I was nervous about living in a hut– now it's just a regular room to me! Nothing to be scared about. 

​Sometimes in the morning I cook lunch with one of my moms and my little sister (thats Mari, age 8). She's sitting behind the giant wooden mortar and pestle that's used to prepare almost every meal. We pound peanuts, pepper, dried okra, corn, even onions.

​My family's garden, where I work everyday, is about a 20 minute walk from my house. It's a long (usually very hot) trek, but the views always make it worth it.

​Everyday, lunch is brought to the garden so whoever is working doesn't have to go all the way home to eat. My baby sister Ramatou usually naps through lunch, so she gets the bowl all to herself after we finish eating.

Since the rainy season ended in November, almost all of my time at the garden has been spent watering. It's a big garden, and a lot of work, but luckily we have water basins like this one that fill from a stream nearby. This way, we don't have to fetch water from a well every time we want to fill our watering cans.

​As the brush has dried up over the last two months, we've seen more and more fires. Most are controlled burns, like this one. It's always a little scary and weird to see the landscape on fire (especially so close your village!) but it's beautiful too, and I always stop to watch.

Every couple of weeks my older brother travels to Kedougou City to sell the hot peppers my family grows. Sometimes as a treat, he'll bring back lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber to make a salad! Fresh produce isn't really available in the village, so it always feels good to get some veggies in my (otherwise rice-filled) body.

Isabel Najjar