It’s a Photo Shoot

Brian Baylor - Senegal


February 14, 2012

–       Liquid hydration= acquired

–       Clothes (underwear, shorts, ripped t-shirt, socks, Senegalese jelly shoes)= ON

–       Space Time Continuator (watch)= Check

–       K-9 companions= Following

 

Almost every day I like to try and maintain physical fitness by going on a thirty minute run through Senegal’s beautiful all natural landscape. The run provides a sense of solitude and usually it’s only my dogs, nature, what seems like an infinite dirt road and I. Though today, I had no idea that this morning was going to be one for the books.

 

To fill you in, I legally have no dogs. I want one and persistently ask my host mother if I can buy one, but constantly get reminded with the question “what will become of your dog once you move back to America?”  So without hesitation or second thought I did the next best thing and started to feed my unwanted leftovers to a stray dog that resides outside my house. In turn I’ve gained a spotless plate at every meal, an avid listener and a courageous guardian when I go on my runs. At first it started out as my dog and I but as time went on my friend started bringing his friends and the run sort of turned into a party.

 

But why write about today of all days? Well I’ll tell you, today I had energy and without second hesitation I decided to sprint rather than go on the average, casual run.  A strong fifteen minutes in and I was winded, against my will I collapsed on the dirt road.  When my dogs finally realized I wasn’t running anymore they came back and crowded my already hot and sweaty body with even more unwanted hot-breath.

As I relaxed to regain my strength, I played with the dogs in a joking manner. Out of nowhere, sudden and unexpected flashes caught the corner of my right eye, I turned around not knowing what to expect and was quickly stunned to see what I was facing. A Senegal tour bus carrying foreigners drove by ever so slowly and every European man and woman with a camera was taking pictures of me as if I were just another African attraction in their expensive vacation package. The dogs barked and nibbled at me to continue playing but I merely sat there, probably mouth open, in shock and embarrassment. It wasn’t until the bus was completely out of sight, that I decided to get up and return home.
On our run home I pondered the situation and couldn’t help but laugh, I made it into the tourist “My Trip To Senegal” album. My only aggravation to the matter is what the tourists perceived me as. With my dirty ripped shirt and K9 company who knows how crazy I looked, but to take pictures! I don’t feel like they were trying to express “this is what I saw” but more of “this is how much better off we are compared to them” and I don’t like that. But other than all that, I can’t wait to see what will happen on tomorrow’s run.

 

-Brian out…

Brian Baylor