Adventures in Dakar – Monument de la Renaissance Africaine

Yesterday morning, Emily and Sierra came to my homestay and we set out for Monument de la Renaissance Africaine in Dakar.

After using car rapides with my goro (host sister-in-law) the day before, we decided to make our way across the city using the car rapides on our own. Car rapides in Dakar are much cheaper for transportation than taxis. It’s ~100CFA to go in a general direction on a car rapide, whereas taxis are anywhere between 1,000CFA – 3,000CFA to get somewhere in the city, depending on how well you negotiate.

Taxis are ALL OVER the city. If one won’t negotiate with you, another will. And haggling with drivers is absolutely necessary. Many taxi drivers I have interacted with are much more receptive to communicating in Wolof. From what I have heard from other language learners at the Center, taxi drivers do not know French or like to speak it, for the most part.
More of the car rapides I have seen on this trip are white like this one. However, most of the car rapides in the city are incredibly brightly colored. 
Emily and Sierra loving their first car rapide trip. 

When the car rapide took an unexpected turn, we got off and walked the rest of the way to the monument. 
You can see the monument from lots of different places in Dakar. Here are some photos from my time there:

There are a LOT of stairs. Bring water! The tickets to get inside the monument once you reach the top of the stairs range anywhere from 3500CFA – 6500CFA depending on whether you are a student, adult, or child and your residency status in Senegal (tourists pay more, obviously). When we arrived at the top of the stairs, one of the workers asked how long we were staying in Senegal and he gave us a student/resident price for our tickets because we tried to communicate in Wolof and French. However, tickets are not required to walk along the grounds of the monument. 

Inside the monument, you can see the construction exhibit, a traveling exhibit in cooperation with the Indian Embassy about Ghandi, and take an elevator to the top of the monument, which is where this photo was taken. This is the face of the woman in the monument. 

This exhibit contains authentic thrones from Angola, prior to the Berlin Conference. 

 We had a wonderful time walking through the exhibits and listening to our guide. He also provided some interesting information about names in Senegal. As a cultural practice, some names are not given to children for mystic reasons – specifically if fajkat (healers) do not believe the child can bear a certain name. In the case of our guide, several children were given his name prior to his birth, but they all died. When the fajkat tested him, they said he could bear the name and he survived his infancy. 
After finishing the tour, we walked all the way back to Mermoz and had chocolate milkshakes for lunch to cool off. My next posts will discuss my first day of Wolof class, and the student community in our local area of Dakar. 

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