Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Girls Weekend

This year when I was home some of my friends from the East Coast joined me for a girls weekend in Virginia! I thought it would be fun to have some African outfits made for the occasion. I imagined that the ladies would wear them for a photo and we would all have a laugh. 

I was delighted when my friends all put the outfits on right away and wore them for the rest of the weekend. I was very happy when Jennifer brought cassava flour with her from Madison and we tried our cooking skills with peanut stew and fufu. 

The next day we wore the outfits to go canoeing and have a picnic. We even ventured to Dinosaur Land, a magical place located near the cabin where we were staying! 

I picked a simple pattern and design for the outfits. I asked a tailor in Nouakchott to make the seven outfits with a shirt and matching plain wrap skirt that could be used later as a picnic blanket/towel/tablecloth, etc. 

The end result may be a bit old-fashioned, but I could not be prouder of my brilliant friends! They are always up for anything! Even climbing into the jaws of a gigantic shark....

I can't wait to see next year's shenanigans!

Monday, August 2, 2010

72 Hours in Thilogne

My last destination in West Africa before heading home for summer vacation was Thilogne, Senegal. I was invited by my friends living in the United States to visit their families. 

I stayed with the family of one of my former students in New York. I hope he has the chance to visit his family this year because it all seemed too unfair. Because he couldn't get time off work from Walmart, I got to spend a week hanging out with his two wives, five children, and entire extended family, in addition to all of his friends. I was even able to see his new house before him! 

Every two years, a community organization of Thilogne coordinates a massive cultural festival. The festival includes many types of events, from community service projects to music concerts, etc. 

My favorite event was a traditional event when local goat herders all come together to demonstrate their strong herding skills! I loved the energy and excitement of the crowd! It was magnificent!

Traveling to Thilogne was one of the highlights of the year. Meeting more of my friends children, wives, and families strengthened my understanding of the many sacrifices they make each day and the source of their continued strength and motivation. 

I plan on visiting my new friends in Thilogne soon and I also hope I can participate in the next Festival in 2012!