Archive for November 2018


30. November 2018

This festivity takes place in mid-October, it is the Muslim’s new year. Women prepare couscous (Senegalese way— which is brown and smaller than the Moroccan one) with white beans and dates or raising, lots of palm oil and then meat and veggies prepared in a sauce. It is very good but very heavy to the stomach. The women of the family gather all together on that afternoon to prepare the dinner. I was invited to spend the evening with the Gueye Family; my neighbors. They cooked the couscous and the sauce on the rooftop terrace of their house. We all dressed up a little nicer and gathered around the pig plates and ate all together.

After dinner, the kids usually dress up as their opposite sex and go to the streets with “tam tams” (drums) and sing “tayebol, wolé” from house to house. The neighbors or house-owners usually give some coins to the children. This time around, the streets of the Dixième were filled with smaller to bigger groups of children dressed up, singing to the beat of the drums and dancing around. It is a similar tradition than to going for “trick or treat”, or singing Christmas carols from door to door… And of course I had to join in kid’s party – smiley


“Tayebol”, the song we sang, apparently comes from the talibis

The students of the Koran, were/are called talibis. They would eat, learn, shower, and sleep at the Master’s place for free, who would teach them the holy scriptures. In order to get lunch, they would go on the streets asking for food (or money), to collect it all together with the other students to prepare their meal. During the Tamxarit, one of the recommendations is to make offerings as part of the rituals and tradition of this celebration. So the talibis (students) would go and ask for offerings, so that they would collect on that day “enough” for them not to have to go so often to the streets begging for food for the coming months. Today, it has become a “party” were kids go to the streets and to the neighbors to collect some money and have some fun.



22. November 2018

On my first week in Thiès, I got to experience the Derby; is the “classical game” like a Madrid-Barcelona. It really seemed it was a Champions League game here at Thiès. Drums and music made the stadium vibrate. People screaming…. It was quite an atmosphere!

The soccer field is a sand field. There is “esplanade” on one side, and for the rest, people just sit down around the soccer field in plastic chairs to be rented for 100F. Sellers pass buy selling peanuts, tuba coffee (coffee with spices and A LOT of sugar), frozen juice in a plastic bag. The entry to the match costs 500 F. The kids and people that cannot afford the entrance fee climb up the walls, trees, or put bricks one on top of another and try to see the game from behind the walls.

This game is part of  a tournament, I was told, that started after their independence. During the 3 months of summer break (Jul-Oct), to keep the kids and young men busy and hopefully out of mischief. In Thiès there are 94 teams from different leagues (depending on the age group) from all the neighborhoods.  Most know each other from the neighborhoods, from school, from University. There are usually 4 games almost every evening starting at 16:00 (for the lower leagues) and the last game finishing at almost 1 am (the last game of the day is usually for the “best teams”).

It is a funny juxtaposition between the seriousness of the game and the passion from the fans, and the teasing going on between players and the followers (since they know each other). The public would scream and tease the players, even at times the referee. It is somehow very “familiar”, almost school-like-way the way the players and fans interact with one another .

At the end of the game, Abou –my friend and player of the AFC Dixième, one of the teams of the Derby— gave me his sports bag to carry when we got out of the stadium. I felt like a “water-boy” or in this case “water-girl”. I did not mind, I thought he was tired and he did not want to carry his bag. I just felt it was a funny position to be in, coming from a culture where it is usually the other way around that a “gentleman” carries the bags of girls, or at least carry their own bag and don’t give their bags for a girl to carry. I later on realized it was meant as a compliment. All the kids felt honored if they had the “honor” to carry their heroes bags, water bottle, or other belongings. That is how I should have felt. When I realized that, I couldn’t help but laugh. How funny and sweet.

As Abou walked into the street, everyone was commenting a pass he had made, as the big event of the night. And when he entered our neighborhood’s street, he was greeted by everyone as a hero. The whole scenario was very bright although the night was dark. It was delightful to experience how people celebrate these “small events”, which was actually THE event of the week. This joyful and celebration spirit was contagious. I also found myself with some type of glee from this atmosphere surrounding me. The streets of the Dixième were filled with cheerful people.

It was a very nice way to start my stay here in Senegal. A very warming and joyful first impression of the life in Thiès.

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Kein Land des Alltags

1. November 2018

Wie der Titel schon sagt, gibt es in Bolivien wenig Alltag, wenig Routine. Aber ich habe auch gemerkt, dass es nicht unbedingt etwas Schlechtes sein muss. Diesmal will ich etwas vom Arbeits“alltag“ auf dem Land in Totora erzählen, der nun auch schon wieder vorbei ist. Letzte Woche Dienstag habe ich die letzten Interviews geführt und damit den praktischen Teil abgeschlossen. Hinzu kommt noch eine weitere Veränderung.