It's official. Strike, Playmaker, Playmaker's boyfriend & I are going to Senegal, Africa in April. Tickets are purchased. The girls & I went yesterday to get our immunizations (I need 6! Depending on the result of a blood test, I may need 7. ouch!). We have to go back one more time for more. Malaria medicine & self medicating antibiotics have been prescribed. I dropped off a letter to Playmaker's Guidance Counselor yesterday to notify her teachers of the school she will miss in hopes that they'll help her plan ahead so she doesn't fall behind in her schoolwork.
Senegal is a third world country - so this will by no means be a 5 star vacation. I'm generallly not a big fan of cruise ships, luxury hotels & vacation packages when it comes to traveling - as they tend to shelter travelers from "real" people & real life...which is what I'm really interested in. I also believe American born/bred citizens should leave our country's borders at least once - to experience real life anywhere else ... especially if they're prone to complaining about life in America.
Some Dakar Demographics: 2 million people * 95% Muslim * Aprx 1/3 of the population live below the international poverty line of US $1.25 per day.
We'll be staying with my brother, who is a teacher there, & his wife. Our itinerary is packed w/ places to go & people to meet. Among them:
- The Door of No Return (former slave house) on Goree Island
- Capital city of Dakar
- The kids will likely attend school one day w/ other kids their age at the school my brother teaches at.
- Strike will finally get to meet her penpal there!!
- Outdoor Marketplaces.
My sister-in-law shared recently that fresh produce & eggs must be washed in a bleach/water solution for 20 minutes before eating, flour must be frozen for a few days before use to kill any bugs & she says:
"Sometimes when I want to buy meat, I go down to the local meat shop pictured. You have to hope that the piece of meat you are buying hasn’t had too many flies on it! The meat hanging here is sheep that someone just brought into the shop to sell. They had it loaded in the back of an old station wagon and got it out and hung it up. I guess you would call that special delivery!"
Stay tuned for further details.