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Monday, January 19, 2015

On the Road to Sedhiou, Senegal


Where is Sedhiou?

Map of Senegal


Sedhiou is a town of about 20,000 people located just a little north of the border with Guinea-Bissau; It is on the west side of the Casamance Estuary, a bit north of where it turns northward. You can see it on this map.
Leaving Dakar, our breakfast stop was at Chez Anwar in Kaolack. They generally do not offer breakfast but they kindly made an exception for us. We pushed on to Tamabcounda for a lunch of grilled chicken and fries at Chez Francis, going around The Gambia rather than through it due to the numerous problems presented by crossing that slim country. Tambacounda is known for its extreme heat during much of the year. It is said that it is so hot that a goat and a lion will sleep under the same tree. Tamba is the name of a tree found in the area and "counda" means "home of" in Mandinka. When we passed through, it was not hot but this is the coolest period of the year.

It was actually a bit chilly at Kaolack in the early morning.

Janet does some marketing in Velingara.

We turned south at Tambacounda and passed through the town of Velingara and on to a small village between Velingara and Kolda, in the south of Senegal, (known as the Haute Casamance). There, we had a delightful visit with two Peace Corps volunteers who live and work in the area. The family of one of the volunteers prepared a delicious dinner for us. Velingara gives its name to a meteor that struck the earth millions of years ago and created a crater thirty miles in diameter, known as the Velingara Circular Structure. The remnants of the crater are not visible today except from space.

At her village's health facility, Peace Corps Volunteer Barbara Michel discussed efforts to improve post-natal child nutrition.


Janet Ghattas, an early '60s Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, and current PCV Barbara Michel exchanged stories and ideas about Peace Corps then and now -- the changes are great and fascinating.



This is "funio," a food found in southern Senegal that is very nutritious and tastes a bit like quinoa. It is expensive in Senegal because of the difficulty in preparing the grain for cooking. We first learned of this food when we visited Kedougou in the extreme southeast of Senegal, but it can be purchased in other areas of southern Senegal. We brought some home. Below is a link that explains more and offers a recipe:

https://glutenfreesoyfreevegan.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/funio/



Janet gets a hug from the owner of Chez Bintou in Kolda -- we can always count on Bintou to provide a hearty lunch, perhaps a Maafe. What is Maafe? It's a delicious Mandinka dish involving peanuts that Janet makes at home from time to time. Here's a link to a recipe:
It can be made with just vegetables or with chicken as well as with beef.



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