On the Ngor beach, waiting to take a pirogue across to the island, where we relaxed for the day
Rather than give a rundown of our itinerary (which was extensive), I'll give a brief summary. Mom arrived at the Dakar airport with the heaviest of bags, which was filled with gifts for the whole family: pens, batteries, maple candy, chocolate, shawls, nail polish, jewelry...she was a regular Santa Claus. (She's returning with a hefty number of presents as well, but I won't spoil the surprise.) In spite of not being able to speak French or Wolof, she navigated downtown Dakar, a 4 hour ride to Saint Louis, and the attentions of countless taxis and even the vendeurs Ile de Goree. She was brave and patient and flexible throughout it all. I'm proud that she's my mother, and happy that I got to be the one to show her around.
My family here, of course, was thrilled to see her and to host her. Even with "language barriers," their kindness and generosity was clearly impressed upon her. She saw a lot, and met many people, and received many gifts and email addresses along the way. (Mothers are popular here.) Now that she's been to Senegal, Papa told her that she must come back to see the babies of Aysha and Fana, inshallah (God willing).
Dad missed her a lot, I know. This is the longest they've been apart in their 21 years of marriage.
I was happy to see more of this country with her. Right now, I'm undecided about whether to change my flight, currently scheduled for May 31st. I want to go home--I always do, wherever I am--but I also want to stay here with my friends and family in Dakar for as long as possible. Now that I have a summer job, I have a deadline. I want more time--more time to sit on the beach, time to make ataaya, time to talk with my friends. Going back is certain, but when? My days are numbered.