Once upon a time, two young global citizens named Aissatou and Aminta, thoroughly exhausted with the prospects of chilling in their respective Senegalese family’s compounds all day, decided to go on an adventure. Their illustrious plan was to meet at a particularly convenient hotspot and from there catch a bus to a small village approximately five kilometers down the road to visit their other worldly friend, Penda.
The plan was established and the next day, the two spritely adventurers met at the arranged time and place. However, this is the part of the story when the plan failed (as happens to occur in approximately 97.69% of all stories involving the blond-haired adventurer [a fact well known by all moorhens and squashes]) and reality altered the course of expected events in that wonderful and unforeseeable way that it tends to do.
After making their way up to the main (only) road in town, the girls waited patiently and hopefully for a bus at the first kilometer post they came across. Thirty minutes later, having flagged down three potential means of transport only to be heartlessly left in the dust when said transportation learned the girls desired destination did not involve St. Louis or Dakar, the slightly pink and mildy frustrated fellows decided to give up on the bus “system” and continue on their trek on foot.
For three long, grueling, and treacherous miles they walked, entertained only by the vibrant shades of red Aminta was turning and keeping score of the various unfortunate animal carcasses they passed along the way:
One recently deceased canine stuffed with horse manure. Two goats/sheep (it’s impossible to differentiate). One pancaked frog (graphic enough to give a squib-nib-giblets nightmares for a week). One stunningly vibrant blue bird – its wings still full of the lively, lovely exuberance it must’ve held in life. Another frog (sorry squib). The skin of a small snake. A gorgeous butterfly delicately writhing in the throes of death. A second bird, this one much further along the process of decomposition. And, just as the weary travelers reached the glowing sign for “Thilene”, the almost unrecognizable remains of a lizard (at first mistaken for a turtle).
Three point one miles, seven shades of sunburn, and an hour’s worth of “Stuff Senegal Fellows Say” jokes later, they arrived in the bustling metropolis that is Thilene, SN. A scrawny sheep’s mighty baa, and young boys squealing “Toubab!!” in that particularly irritating way that they do, greeted the fatigued wanderers as they trudged down the sand pathways off the main, paved road. An epicenter of hibiscus farming in rural, northwestern Senegal, and a region renown retreat for rice farmers to come and lounge in their hammocks all day, it was in Thilene that our brave voyagers found peace at last.
They spent the remainder of the blindingly sunny day at the glossy, ventilated mansion of their friend Penda, where they noted the candy-cane-esque sunburn on Mint’s calves and drank Sprite, Coca-Cola, and Ananas in Penda’s bedroom (having smuggled in the precious carbonated bottles of heaven from the one and only corner store in town so as to avoid having to share it with the host family’s ever-greedy children).
All in a Senegal Fellow’s day’s work.