Posted by: Writing Advisor MacAfee | December 26, 2012

Camels and Thanksgiving. Guests are the Greatest.

This November I had the chance to host my wonderful Aunt Judith, Uncle Bruce, Alex, Jason, Jon and Eileen here in Senegal. Immediately on their arrival we got in cars to Lampool, where we slept in canvas tents on the sand dunes, rode camels, and danced the chaxagoun with some drummers who work at the hotel. In the pristine and beautiful quiet of the morning we could hear the ocean, over a mile away. Unfortunately, not long after we woke up so did the crew of Italian motorcyclists who had brought their sweet rides to the desert and seemed determined to cover every inch of it in noisy sprays of sand. C’est la vie.

From there we headed deep into the heart of Senegal: Linguere and Xol Xol! They brought along lots of fun gifts for my host family and the school children, and we had a great time giving all of those away. Everyone was very grateful. We ate lots of local food, but the biggest hit was ceebujen aka rice and fish, the national dish of Senegal.

Following our Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot came one of the great food adventures of my service to date. You thought the chickens were exciting? We followed up with a monitor lizard that Margaret and I saw creeping around our relatives’ house… and then proceeded to kill and strap to the back of my bike. Delicious. Dragon. The next step, of course, was to procure and prepare our own Thanksgiving turkey. I’m becoming somewhat of a professional at these things. We consumed the birds, along with a multitude of other food over at Dirk and Sarah’s house.

The next day was a trip back to Dakar for some big-city exploration, and then they were off. I wish the visit could have been longer, but even just having them here for a week was fantastic. It’s tough being away from home at the holidays, so it was really nice to have family come all the way here to me!

Some other highlights: The amazing and long overdue bike servicing by my awesome family, a phone call from home on Thanksgiving day, the breezy bush taxi ride out to Xol Xol, and many more… Pictures will be up someday when I get them. Maybe.

“A man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide



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