In the house of happiness - this Maison du Bonheur - a child tries to learn the Qu'ran, confusing Allah Al Akhbar with Ali Baba, Smiling proudly as his mum and dad laugh from the depths of their stomachs. In this happy place, the war against the harmattan that daily brings its carpet of dust... Continue Reading →
I cross the border. Senegalese taximen call out at me. I have 5 dalasi and no CFA Francs. There's no cash machine. An enterprising motorcycle taximan agrees to take me to Kaolack. I spend two hours on the back of his motorbike. Two cash points fail at Kaolack. The third succeeds. My driver continues to... Continue Reading →
We meander between the huts rooved with dried palm leaves and out towards the baobab and palm forest. The only sound is the gentle click-clack of the horse's hooves on the sand. Yaw, the toddler, is - like me - more relaxed and comfortable in nature. We are companionably silent, transfixed by the landscape. The... Continue Reading →
The car winds around barely visible tracks in the dry sand. We lose sight of the final buildings prior to the lagoon, tracing out a route between palm trees, sand and sea. After some searching, we come to a fence-line and a rusty, ajar gate. My friend has already disappeared beyond it into the trees... Continue Reading →
Oh what would it be like to live, in a place where sounds of birdsong are louder than those of people? What would it be like?
'Come on Eileen' plays on a stereo in a town where I have never spoken or heard any English. In a nation where I have not met anyone of Anglophone origin in nearly two weeks. The strange is familiar and the familiar strange hearing Dexys Midnight Runners sing Tuh-Rah-Lu-Rah-Tuh-Rah-Luh-Why-Aye in dulset Brummie tones.