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Lost – The Senegal Chronicles

One sunny afternoon, I decided to go for a walk. It was a straight walk from where I stayed, I had become quite familiar with the neighborhood so unless I opened my mouth to speak, I seemingly fit in. I smiled as I walked, admiring the different styles on various women. I realized that Senegalese women had a flair of dressing. The women carried themselves with dignity and pride, regardless of whatever status they belonged to, they all held their head up high! The men were very respectful.

After walking quite, a distance, I decided to return so I turned the corner to a familiar street then made another turn only to stare confused because I discovered this was a totally new area. I remained calm as I walked slowly and gazed into each person passing by for a hint of recognition. By now it was dark and I admitted to myself, “You’re lost Shakuwra!” I stumbled upon a tv repair and electronic shop and decided to make some inquiries. A man was talking casually on the phone, a woman and a child sat down on the side of the shop. As I got closer, the man finished his conversation so I approached him, As Salaamu Alaikum, I greeted him, wa Alaikum Salaam. He responded. This was the standard greeting. Nangadef, which meant how are you in Wolof. Then my English kicked in, excuse me. I am looking for a place. Then described the street and house where I stayed.

His eyes opened wide and smiled instantly! “Ha”, he said, “I know that place, they are very good people, in fact I repaired their television”. “Wait”, he reached for his phone and dialed a number. He spoke very animated in Wolof and then handed me the phone. “Shakuwra, wait right there, I will come and pick you”, my host said. The man called to someone who came out with a chair. “Sit down”, he said, “my friend will come for you soon”. Relieved, I sat down and looked around. It was visibly dark outside with only a few lights on from a few houses nearby. I waited for about 20 minutes and then the glare of an approaching car, came closer. “Shakuwra”! I heard a familiar voice as my host alighted from the car. He greeted the man, they exchanged pleasant greetings, spoke for a few minutes and then he asked, “Are you ready Shakuwra?” “Yes”! I replied jubilantly and walked to the car. “Derediouf”, (thank you) I turned to the man, Mustafa, “Noko boko”, he responded, which meant you're welcome. Shortly after, the car stopped in front of the house that was quite recognizable. I happily went inside and was greeted very warmly and invited to sit down. Immediately, water was brought to wash my hands and a nice dinner of Chicken Yassa was placed in front of me. I washed my hands and dug in hungrily to the quite delicious meal.

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