• December 1st

Une Toubab au Senegal

It had been 7 years. Last time I was in West Africa was in 2009 when I spent a couple of months in Ghana. So of course, when I got the chance to travel to Senegal I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I went with a non-profit organization that my boyfriend works for, called Le Korsa — it supports institutions and individuals working in the fields of agriculture, education, healthcare, and the arts.  We stayed in Dakar for a few days, where I got to do some tourism. I went to Gorée Island, Ngor, and walked around the streets and markets of Dakar.

I was immediately fascinated by it and I felt right at home. The people are absolutely incredible, they are generous, warm and inviting. The vibrant colors and patterns, the smells of fish and the ocean, the calls to prayer five times a day, the beautiful textiles, the congested traffic and everything in between combine to form a beautiful, cacophonous city. After a couple of days, we went to Tambacounda, a region southeast of Dakar. I spent some time photographing the Sinthian community for Le Korsa. Although faced with a complete language barrier as they don’t speak any French and I not a word of Pulaar (their local language) it was as if that didn’t matter at all.

We connected immediately.

These photos are first impressions of Senegal — what caught my eye, my daily experiences, my walks, and the people I came across.

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Sunny Saturday scene in Dakar.

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On my way to the hotel from the airport, I spotted this mosque at a distance. I had to go back, so later that day I made my way to the Mosquée de la Divinité in the Ouakam neighborhood of Dakar. What a stunning architecture and design!

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The ‘car-rapides’ as they are referred to, are Senegal’s main means of public transportation. They are adorned with colorful designs and fonts, and even eyes at the front.

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One of the many beautiful streets that make up Gorée Island, located about 15 minutes by boat from Dakar. Though stunning because of its French-colonial architecture, Gorée is mainly known as one of the places slaves were sent from to the Americas.

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Archways and sunlight, a very typical combination in Gorée.

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Maison des Esclaves, known as the house where slaves left to the Americas. Though it is still uncertain how important this house was during the African Slave Trade, it has certainly become one of the most prominent places for visitors these days. Today it stands as a museum and memorial place, a place to remember.

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Morning pondering at the dock of Gorée.

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A local walking on the road just after Kaolack, on the way to Tambacounda.

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The women of Fass at work in the fields.

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A portrait of a woman in Fass, with a handful of bitter eggplants that they grow.

 

 

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