Trigger: Sashay through Senegal!
I certainly sashayed all up and through Senegal. Well, when I wasn’t crying, that is. I cried so damn hard visiting Goree Island. I mean, I wasn’t ready. But then again, it wasn’t a dry eye there. There were tears from ALL nationalities. The pain was real. Sighhhh...very emotional for sure!
Standing in the very space that our ancestors stood...separated from their families and packed in like sardines gave me a different perspective of the slave trade.
Babies, virgins, men, and women separated and thrown in dark, concrete cells with hardly any way to breathe. They were stacked high like a deck of cards.
According to the historian speaking after the tour, if a baby or a woman was sick, they were thrown into the water. If the men were considered too weak and under 150 lbs., they were thrown in, as well. The stronger men, healthy women and healthy children were bid on. The virgins were also bid on and were more expensive.
There are no words for me to describe the holding cells where they put “unruly” slaves who fought back. They would get a weight attached to their ankles (that were already shackled), and get tossed into the ocean.
And the Door of No Return...sighhhhh. I stood there imagining what it must have been like to go through that door knowing that you were being TAKEN from your home land, shipped off to a foreign place to never EVER see your family again!
Just writing that, I relived the experience. My life was forever changed in that moment.
Here are some facts about Senegal:
- Senegal is a beautiful country on the coast of West Africa with a rich history of traditional African culture influenced by the French.
- Its capital is Dakar, and it is an excellent illustration of the rest of the country - elegant and chaotic at the same time, with snarling traffic, lively markets, and glittering nightlife.
- Travelers to Senegal should certainly visit the mysterious town of Saint-Louis, a Unesco World Heritage Site, but also Ziguinchor, and the Natural Reserve of Popenguin.
- The Senegalese cultivate fresh vegetables that improve the taste of their meals. They were the first to cook the world-famous Jollof rice. We stayed with friends and had homemade food every single day. Definitely some of the best home cooked meals I’ve had in my life.
- Senegal currency is the CFA franc. You can find ATMs in all larger towns. Visitors mostly exchange US dollars and euros.
- You can cook, wash vegetables, boil a cup of tea or coffee and brush your teeth with tap water, but don’t drink it. Stick to bottled water.
- The official language is French. Most Senegalese also speak local African languages.
- The dry season is from November to May and it is the best time to travel to Senegal. I went in November. It was hot as hell.
Make sure you visit The Pink Lake in Senegal/Lake Retba and The African Renaissance Monument.
Oh yeah, I took a straight flight from Dulles to Dakar. It was about 7 hours. My friend Batch (friends for 30 years) lives there. He has offered to show around a small group. I’m going to arrange a group trip so let me know if you are interested!