Ngone laa tudd – My name is Ngone

Yaay gave me the name “Ngone,” which she says means ‘kindness’ in Wolof. Each person who stays with her family as a homestay receives a Senegalese name from her, and she adds them into her phone. I am now a contact in yaay’s mobile as “Amerig Ngone” – the American Ngone.
Today, I went to L’ile Ngor with Emily, Sierra, Jessica, and Avey. Emily and Sierra are here with me from the Kansas African Studies Center at the University of Kansas for the next seven weeks; Jessica and Avey are here by themselves with two other programs for about four weeks. Jessica is learning French, and Avey is learning Wolof. Even though we’re here for different programs and time periods, we are spending time together as a group for excursions.
It’s much better being here with a group of girls. Senegal is a cash-based economy, and almost no one has change for bills larger than 5,000 CFA. Because of that, we spent the day rotating who paid for which part of our trip to the island because no one had enough change to break all of our bills from the currency exchange.

First, we took a taxi to the place on the shore where you can purchase tickets to Ngor Island.

After arriving at the shore, we went to the new ticket counter (It was not there last year. There was just someone on the beach selling tickets.), and purchased our tickets for the boat ride. The tickets are 1,000CFA, round trip, per person, which is about $2.
The boats are canoes with motors in the back of of them, and fairly brightly colored. I do not recommend wearing sneakers, as you have to walk into the water to jump into the boat.
When we arrived on the island, we walked to the back side of the island on the path that weaves through several houses and compounds.

The graffiti culture in Senegal is incredibly interesting. I will probably make a post with all of the graffiti I have seen in a few weeks. 
There is a brand new, ship-like building that looks like it will serve children on the island. It it still under construction, but the outer painting and construction is complete. This is one of the doors we walked past on the outside of the new building. 

Once we arrived at the back of the island, we walked around on some of the rocks and took pictures of the shore of Dakar.

I am clearly happy to be back on Ngor Island. The back of this island is one of my favorite places in Dakar.
And with a view like this, it’s easy to see why I love coming here. 
And it’s wonderful to be sharing this experience with Emily and Sierra. Showing them a place like this is great, because I’m passing along experiences I had last year when I was here with Dr. Brenda Bethman for my birthday. 
Once we spent some time on the rocks near the water, from which you can sometimes see surfers practicing, we walked the rest of the way up the path to the far side of the island. This rock cliff is my favorite place in Senegal. 
It’s a place that looks out over the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. When I need perspective, this is the place I remember, looking out at the expanse of the ocean and reflecting. 
After we all sat out looking at the ocean for about an hour, we decided to walk back to the front of the island and relax for the rest of the afternoon. We rented mats and an umbrella to keep the sunlight from burning us all to a crisp, and ordered some frites from one of the food stalls on the beach.
The mats are 2,000CFA each to rent, and the people will sweep them off and keep your belongings from the tide.
When we went back to the shore, we hailed a taxi and I haggled about the price to get us all home. After asking the taxi driver for proof that he had the appropriate change to break a 5000CFA, we agree to go with him, four people sandwiched in the back seat and one in the front. 
After we arrived in Mermoz and paid the driver, he beckoned me over to the car, asking my name and saying something in Wolof using the word “muus” which loosely translated to, “You are a clever girl. You will be fine in Senegal.” It made me feel more confident about my language and negotiation abilities. 
Once we dropped our belongings off and changed at our homestays, we all met at the Baobab Center with Samba and went to a jazz concert to finish out the day. 
The concert was at le Djollof Hotel in the downtown area of Dakar. The tickets were 5000CFA to get in, and the players were in an underground bar area with a brick, arched roof. They were incredibly talented, and the setting was intimate – not many benches or chairs for seating. 

My next posts will be about my adventures in the car rapide, and my experiences with other students at the Baobab Center! 

2 Comments on “Ngone laa tudd – My name is Ngone

  1. It did not sound the same as Kansas City Jazz, and the primary difference was the use of the djembe in the ensemble. It was entertaining to watch!


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