Senegal 2010 - Day 12 (Sun. - conclusion) + Day 13 (Mon.)

Day 12 (conclusion):
Upon arrival at Diourbel in the early evening we off loaded the bus, set up our mosquito nets + beds for the night, then set off on foot for a nearby restaurant, guided by Frère Augustin (from Togo) and Frère Adolphe (see previous article). In the meantime, whilst waiting to go to our rooms/dormitories with our bags, I managed to bang my head on a low-hanging, knobbly beam of wood and open up 2 wounds on my scalp. I've always been a bit of a "bleeder", so the flow of crimson was quite dramatic. But other than seeing stars for a few minutes there seemed no serious damage. Good thing I've a thick Irish skull, I suppose. A layer of Germolene was applied and I was ready to go and eat with the others - hamburgers, roast chicken, steak, chips!! Team Win couldn't believe their eyes! An end-of-trip indulgence, but one they thoroughly deserved.

The Brothers' school in Diourbel is in a fairly swanky neighbourhood: a city Governor living opposite, a Chief of Police around the corner and wide, straight streets - different from the hustle and bustle of where we were in Richard-Toll. Though we did see plenty of hustle + bustle at the market the next day... (see below).

Day 13 (Mon.)

For our full day in Diourbel (our last full day of the trip) there were 2 main things on the agenda: a visit to the local market to buy some souvenirs + prezzies for people back home (with Frère Augustin) and a walk to a bush village at about 5kms. (with Frère Adolphe - there was an alternative to the walk for those who wished: a drive to a different village in a pickup with Frère Augustin).

First up, early morning village outings, those on foot setting off at about 8am: photos from the walking group (photos from those in the pickup will be shown in a later article).

A local weaver at work in the outskirts of Diourbel.


2 donkeys + a white bird.


We saw a number of quite wonderful baobab trees.


Arriving in the village. The Brothers used to have a network of village schools in the bush around Diourbel: "Les ecoles de brousses" (bush schools) that they helped set up, train locals to run and teach in and generally provide resources for and monitor. Eventually, the Senegalese state began to develop its own provision for village schools and so the Brothers handed over control. But in many cases it took some years for the state-run village schools to get off the ground and one or two villages (like the one we visited) were without a school for a few years.

Many of the people in the village recognised Frère Adolphe, as he was instrumental in the setting up and monitoring the bush schools for a number of years, as well as at times teaching in them. Some of the young adults in the village were actually his former pupils. We were told the story of one girl whom he had taught who is now a trained chemist working in Dakar.


A bush school classroom, one of the 2 in this village primary school.







Part of the village.







Frère Adolphe with one of the village elders.



Continuing our walk under the African sky.



An impressive baobab.


Baaaa!!!


During the afternoon trip to the market (not a good place to get a camera out) the boys haggled like professionals with the local stall keepers who mustn't have known what hit them, managing to get prices knocked down way below their original asking prices in many cases: necklaces, bracelets, wooden carved animals, plastic teapots.... yes, plastic teapots!!! Which I hope in reality are never used to hold boiling tea :-) Those who bought them (Sophie + Jack, you stand accused) were promising that they were for watering plants back home.

Frère Augustin also managed to find a craft workshop where, as well as making and selling carved animals, they also produced handy-sized djembe (African hand drums which can come in a variety of sizes) which many of the lads bought and which were small enough to go in their hand luggage. 

Evening Mass in the local parish church in Diourbel, guitar ready for use in "Lord I Lift Your Name On High". Jacob bravely volunteered to do the First Reading in French. By the way, Frère Augustin is this end of the middle row.


Evening meal back at base.


This was our last evening together. The Team decided they would like to have a camp fire sing-song, so it was time for me to get the guitar out again. Some of those who'd bought djembes tapped out a variety of generally unrelated, uncoordinated beats, but we didn't mind. The craic was mighty! as they would say in Ireland. Just hope the neighbouring Chief Of Police didn't complain to the Brothers the next time he saw them.
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