The Sounds of Senegal

Aubrey Haddard - Senegal


October 6, 2011

My experience (and my favorite parts of my experience) thus far can be summed up simply in the sounds of Senegal.

-The mosquito buzzing in my ear after I’ve spent at least 5 minutes wrestling with my mosquito net and am now desperate to fall asleep.

-The pound of my Deub hitting the onions, peppers and tomato sauce, the sizzle of the fish, the sound of the making of cheb ujehn

– The shouts and laughter of children as their soccer ball flies into the courtyard of the village mosque.

– The one terribly grumpy goat on my roof in Dakar who simply insists on waking me up an hour early.

– The clan of roosters on my roof in Darou Salam Sebikotaine that insist on waking me up 5 hours early.

– The street performer playing the perfect soundtrack to a lunch out for crepes, in a typical tricky Senegalese time signature I can’t seem to grasp, but adore.

– The smack of our feet against rooftop tile as we learn, or attempt, West African dancing.

– Djembe.

– The burst of a single firework just before a thunderstorm.

– The cries of children yelling “TUBAB! Tubaaab!!!” as I walk through the village to my school, Sebi Route.

– The splash of Ataya as its tossed back and forth over and over again from one glass to the other and the slurp and sigh that follow.

– The kind, Wolof words of the juice lady who, unfortunately cannot understand but appreciate.

– The 4:30 call to prayer, admittedly my favorite, for not even Beyonce can belt like that.

– The “beautiful, nice girl! You come to my shop, give you nice price!” inevitable in every market.

-The chant of the Baay Falls putting me to sleep.

– The hum of the fan as the power comes back on, if only for a moment.

– My baby brother shrieking with laughter at the animal noises my sister is capable of making and my mother shrieking as she falls of the couch after Senegal has scored a goal.

– The trot of a horse drawn cart as I hurry to get out of its way.

-The crack of a freshly roasted peanut.

-The scrubbing of my soapy clothes between my pruney fingers.

– The encouragement from my director and enthusiasm he has for all of my projects.

-The endless new ideas running through my head as I gear up to start my apprenticeship.

– The 12 bar blues coming out of my guitar, my midnight bliss.

– “Khadija! Khadija Wone!!” My sisters are ready and eager to show me around, and let me buy them bissap juice. My new name is quickly the most familiar sound. I am deja Dija.

Aubrey Haddard