For a solid day and a half, I went down to the Kaolack region which boarders the Gambia. After passing through Kaolack numerous times when I was here last, I remember one thing: dust. It is one of those cities where everything thing is a bit grey-red because its coated in a dust that skips from your pores to your ears. This time I was heading to Kaolack not to pass through it, but be in it and around it while we were collecting a “success story” on one of our partner programs with USAID. Arriving around 6 after a day at work and in the the car [picture: potholes so large that its smoother and faster to drive on the dirt beside the road than it is to actually drive on the “pavement”] we arrived at our hotel. Putting aside the option of drinking attaya, the boiled down green-turning-to-black tea, with my co-worker and the guards I decided to go on a walk… because as it turns out, Kaolack can be beautiful when the rains washes away the dust.
Enter Max, or Amadou, the ex-guide, now vendor/nightclub proprietor/works with the Catholic mission in Kaolack. I don’t know what it is, but when you meet someone you automatically know what type of person they are: are they trying to sell you something, help you, scam you, secretly marry you, speak to you, and the list goes on. How did we meet? Oh I was trying to maybe illegally [oops] walk into the Catholic mission compound where the priests stay because I thought it was the port entrance… not that I would be allowed in there either. So he kindly asked where I was going and then we continued to walk along the road below. Smooth conversation, a jolly kind of guy, and he didnt even drop my camera, which I delicately explained was my version of a baby. Supposition some people like to see you in the places you are, not just architecture and scenery [preposterous, but see the bottom]. After a good hour or so we headed back after seeing the lake that appears during the rainy season around the salt flats. Just mountains of salt, though quite funny because it looks like snow in Senegal, which is an even sillier thought. As it turns out, he also has an antique shop, and we all know how I love old things. There was no expectation to buy, he gave me an antique bronze Pulaar bracelet that was 40 years old simply because he enjoyed chatting so much [they have the same purpose as those ionic bracelets according to him… but were made for ages before]….. and then we bargained for almost two hours over a host of specific items, and only slightly stupidly did I gain a couple of things, but I can say I’m perfectly contented with them, or perhaps it was more the process of coming to them.