Saturday, July 5, 2008

Last day in Senegal

Today was our last day in Senegal and we’d planned to do something with Aissatou, one of the girls who had come to the US youth conference in 2004. We took a cab downtown and walked around with her for awhile and then we went to the Dakar museum which was cool. They have lots of statues, masks and carvings related to different ritual ceremonies from the peoples of W. Africa. Most of the ceremonies and carvings are related to female initiation (excision), male initiation (circumcision) and fertility. Aissatou told me that female circumcision is now illegal but that many people in the South of Senegal still practice it and it’s quite dangerous. They consider that men and women are unmarriageable if they are not circumcised or they don’t go through the initiation ceremonies. I knew this from work where we do work around awareness raising to mobilize communities and help support the women who don’t circumcise their daughters. It’s hard to change this kind of thing though.

We went to the market after the museum and got just a couple of things, and then met Laye and took a car rapide to N’gor, where we caught a water taxi out to the N’gor island. The beach out there was really nice. We sat on some mats, listened to people’s reggae music and relaxed till about 4 when we headed back to pack and get ready to go to the airport.

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