The British Are Coming, the British Are Coming!!! Or, err… the Bread?

Ananda Day - Senegal


January 5, 2010

An account from the morning…

8:00 a.m. – Wake up, get ready for the day, head over to our family’s restaurant to go eat my bread and tegga degga (natural, no added hydrogenated oil, peanut butter, yum).

8:30 a.m. – Find out that the bread has, in fact, not already arrived at Mamour’s Boutique, and so we stop and pass the time by trying to be the first person to find the white, hearse shaped, bread car. There are an amazing amount of impostor cars.

9:15am- People search the other boutiques in town for the remnants of last night’s bread, which isn’t exactly soft anymore. About three people get to eat and go on with their days. Currently the whole village is at a standstill- no one goes anywhere or does much of anything, as we are all playing the waiting game. This would be why people have so much patience here.

10:03 a.m. – Thomas and I spot the bread car, I run to the restaurant to tell Penda (and the waiting customers), and the bread arrives!!!!!!!!! We  cheer, people eat, lives commence, and I go to work.

It’s easy to take something simple out of this situation – like if there was ever a war in Senegal, just go for the bread makers and the whole country would stop – yet it exemplifies so much more. The plain, empty, usually abundant, cheap white baguette bread that is sold here is essential to almost every person and household as a cheap way to get calories. While people eat things like chocolate spread or eggs with their bread sometimes, it is simply not within most families means to make meals, most of the times for huge households, that don’t contain a one food or another that can inexpensively fill people up. Here its rice, couscous for the poorer families (even though it has more nutrients), and bread and, from what I gather, its beans and tortillas in Guatemala. Either way, it is distinct example of the poverty and fragility with which the people around me live. One little thing, like not having the bread delivered, or how yesterday there was just simply no water, can completely change or halt life here. There are no back up plans, no second options to help life continue. For that takes money, space, liberty, ideas, whatever you may- all of which are harder to come by, the poorer you are.

Ananda Day