Category Archives: Senegal/Senegalese

Baay Bia – Liy Am Amna [Official Video w/Subtitles]

World-renowned Senegalese griot, singer, poet and emcee Baay Bia linked up with Nomadic Wax in 2007 on his first trip to the United States. Since then, he has toured with the Nomadic Wax ‘African Underground All Stars’ on numerous occasions. Baay Bia is a unique emcee who combines the traditional musical sounds of Senegal with contemporary hip hop and reggae. He rhymes and sings in Wolof and was born into a griot family, a lineage that has a major influence over his music and his sound. In July of 2009, Baay Bia worked together with Nomadic Wax filmmaker Magee McIlvaine (co-director of ‘Democracy in Dakar’) to put together a music video for ‘Liy Am Amna,’ one of Baay Bia’s most popular songs in Senegal.

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Basic Wolof Phrases

See original list here: Some Essential Wolof Phrases
For help with pronunciation see: Pronunciation Guide


↓ scroll down for more resources ↓


Essentials | sólo

English
Wolof / Français
pro·nun·ci·a·tion
[Pulaar / Mandinka]

 

Hello.
Salaam aleekum. / Bonjour.
sa·laam a·ley·kum / bon·zhoor
[P: No ngoolu daa. / M: I be ñaading.]

Goodbye.
Mangi dem. / Au revoir.
maan·gee dem / o·rer·vwar
[P: Ñalleen e jamm. / M: Fo tuma doo.]

Please.
Bu la neexee. / S’il vous plaît.
boo la ney·khey / seel voo pley
[P: Njaafodaa. / M: Dukare.]

Thank you.
Jërejëf. / Merci.
je·re·jef / mair·see
[P: A jaaraamah. / M: I ning bara.]

You’re welcome.
Amul sólo. / Je vous en prie.
uh·mool so·lo / zher voo zom pree
[P: Enen ndendidum. / M: Mbee le dentaala.]

Yes.
Waaw. / Oui.
wow / wee
[P: Eey. / M: Haa.]

No.
Déedéet. / Non.
dey·deyt / non
[P: Alaa. / M: Hani.]

Sorry. (Excuse me.)
Baal ma. (Jéggël ma.) / Pardon. (Excusez-moi.)
baal ma (jey·guhl mah) / par·don (ek·skew·zay·mwa)
[P: Achanam hakke. (Yaafo.) / M: Hakko tuñe.]

Do you speak English?
Ndax dégg nga angale? / Parlez-vous anglais?
ndakh deg nguh an·ga·ley / par·ley·voo ong·ley
[P: Ada faama engale? / M: Ye angkale kango moyle?]

Do you understand? (Do you speak … ?)
Dégg nga? / Comprenez-vous?
deg nguh / kom·pre·ney·voo
[P: (Ada nana … ?) / M: (Ye … kango moyle?)]

I understand.
Dégg naa. / Je comprends.
deg na / zher kom·pron
[P: Mi faami. / M: Ngaa kalamuta le.]

I don’t understand.
Dégguma. / Je ne comprends pas.
deg·goo·ma / zher ner kom·pron pa
[P: Mi faamaani / M: Mma kalamuta.]

Help!
Wóoy! / Au secours!
wohy / o·skoor
[P: Ballal! / M: Nso orangzola!]

Continue reading Basic Wolof Phrases

Senegalese Wrestling

Laamb – la lutte sénégalaise

Pro Wrestling, Senegal Style
Pro Wrestling, Senegal Style

Pro Wrestling, Senegal Style – NYTimes.com

Senegalese wrestling
Senegalese wrestling match at the stade Demba Diop in Dakar.

Senegalese wrestling (fr. Lutte sénégalaiseNjom in Serer languageLaamb in Wolof) is a type of Folk wrestling traditionally performed by the Serer people and now a national sport in Senegal and parts of The Gambia, and is part of a larger West African form of traditional wrestling (fr. Lutte Traditionnelle). The Senegalese form traditionally allows blows with the hands (frappe), the only of the West African traditions to do so. As a larger confederation and championship around Lutte Traditionnelle has developed since the 1990s, Senegalese fighters now practice both forms, called officially Lutte Traditionnelle sans frappe (for the international version) and Lutte Traditionnelle avec frappe for the striking version. Senegalese wrestling – Wikipedia

Laamb glossary:

laamb – traditional Senegalese wrestling. Laamb is the Wolof word for wrestling which is borrowed from Serer Fara-Lamb Siin (Fara of Mandinka origin whilst Lamb of Serer origin) the chief griot who used to beat the tam-tam of Sine called Lamb or Laamb in Serer. The lamb was part of the music accompaniment of wrestling in pre-colonial times as well as after Senegal’s independence. The Serer word for wrestling is njom which derives from the Serer word jom (heart or honour). In French it is called Lutte sénégalaise. 

gris-gris (pronounced gree-gree) – also spelled grigri, is a voodoo amulet originating in Africa which is believed to protect the wearer from evil or brings luck, and in some West African countries is used as a method of birth control. It consists of a small cloth bag, usually inscribed with verses from the Qur’an and containing a ritual number of small objects, worn on the person. Although the exact origins of the word are unknown, some historians trace the word back to the African word juju meaning fetish. An alternative theory is that the word originates with the French joujou meaning doll or play-thing.

mbër – Laamb wrestler.

bàkk – a type of dance performed before a match. (not sure if this is something that is still done or something that was done before it became a national sport)

More YouTube – Senegalese wrestling videos

Wolof Video w/English Subs – XALA

Xala

It is the dawn of Senegal’s independence from France, and as Dakar citizens celebrate in the streets we soon become aware that only faces have changed in the handover of power. White money still controls the government.

Movement to End Female Circumcisions

A movement in the African nation of Senegal is having a major impact in ending female genital cutting. A group called Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in Wolof, Senegal’s dominant language, is building change without the billions of dollars that have poured into other global health issues. The group, which has gotten support from more than 5,000 villages in the country, is creating African-style education programs to warn against the dangers of the practice. Female circumcisions are viewed as a rite of passage, but some girls die from hemorrhaging due to botched attempts. The Senegalese Parliament banned the practice more than a decade ago, and the government has been very supportive of Tostan.

Read it at New York Times

October 17, 2011 12:38 PM

Janga Laaka English to Wolof & French Dictionary

 

I have just uploaded the Janga Laaka Wolof/English Dictionary. It’s available for a minimal charge. Why am I charging for this? Well, because I have invested a lot of time and energy into this project and like everyone else I have to make a living! Don’t fret though, all the contents of this book will be available on this blog for FREE. The charge for the download is for the convience of owning your own personal copy that you can take with you anywhere regardless of internet availability. You can also print it out and have your own personal hardcopy to take with you even when you don’t have a computer or a smartphone handy.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT version !!! So, therefore there may be a few errors. Why am I offerring a rough version instead of a finished product? Because, due to lack of time and funding I don’t see me completing this project anytime soon, and since I’ve gotten many, many requests for this product I’ve decided to go ahead and share what I have so far. If after reading this you’ve decided to go ahead and download anyway then I thank you very much for your purchase!

Follow this link to download:

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/janga-laaka-wolof-dictionary/17265716

 

Languages of Senegal: Hassaniyya

 

Hassaniyya (Klem El Bithan) is the variety of Arabic originally spoken by the Beni Hassan Bedouin tribes, who extend their authority over most of Mauritania and the Western Sahara between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. It has almost completely replaced the Berber languages spoken in this region. Though clearly a western dialect, Hassaniya is relatively distant from other North African variants of Arabic. Its geographical location exposed it to influence from Zenaga and Wolof. There are several dialects of Hassaniya. The primary differences among them are phonetic. Today Hassaniya is spoken by inhabitants of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal and the Western Sahara. – Wikipedia

 

Greetings:

Some of these terms may be familiar to some of us as many of these are also used by Wolof speakers but perhaps pronounced a bit differently.

 

Isselaamu aleykum – Peace be upon you
We aleykum isselaam – And on you, too
Ish haal issbaah – Good morning
Ish haal limgiil – Good afternoon
Ish haal limbaat – Good evening
Eyaak ilkhayr? – Are you in peace?
Ilkhayr ilhamdulillaah – Peace only
Ish haalak? – How are you?
Lebaas meshaallaah – I am fine
Ish haal usrtak? – How is the family?
Lebaas liihum – They are fine
Ish haal ishshaqle? – How is the work?
Lebaas meshaallaah – It is fine
Ish haalak ma ilvetre? – How are you with tiredness?
Lebaas meshaallaah – I am fine
Ish haal Soukeyna? – How is Soukeyna?
Soukeyna lebaas liihe – Soukeyna is fine
Ish haal ishaashrtak? – How are your children?
Lebaas liihum – They are fine
Merhbe! – Welcome!
Shukran! – Thank you!

 

From the Peace Corps. Go to: Hassaniya_Language_Lessons.pdf for more (PDF).

 

Going to Senegal?

Customs & Duties – Some items are not allowed into the country without proper clearance by Senegalese customs officials. Although the list includes computers and cameras it is unlikely that you won’t be allowed in the country or that your items will be confiscated if you have them. If you are concerned about anything you may wish to bring you should contact the Senegal Embassy in your country or visit the Senegal Tourism Authority’s official website.

Senegal Embassy, Canada +1 613 238 6392
Senegal Embassy, UK +44 (0)20 7937 7237
Senegal Embassy, USA +1 202 234 0540
Senegal Tourism Authority www.senegal-tourism.com

Text excerpt from the upcoming Janga Wolof produced Senegalese Phrasebook & Information Guide. Publish date TBA.

Would you like a fork with your fries?

Another cultural tidbit I noticed in Senegal was that although they ate traditional dishes such as rice or couscous with meat, vegetables and sauce with their hands, something in the West we would generally use utensils to eat, they ate things such as french fries and pizza with a fork when we would just use our hands. Go figure…

Mind Your Manners

It is customary in Senegal to greet anyone you come into contact with. If you come across a group of people, enter a dwelling or are meeting elders the Arabic greeting asalaam alaikum is appropriate. When greeting individuals the French bonjour or cava is good and alternately the Wolof nangadef works as well. It is also customary to shake hands when greeting someone. Also when entering a home shaking everyone’s hand, including the children, is common practice. Be sure to only use your right hand. There are some people, however, who will not shake hands with members of the opposite sex. It is also common practice to remove your shoes when entering homes so you may want to wear a pair that you can easily slip on and off. Most Senegalese wear flip-flops.

Text excerpt from the upcoming Janga Wolof produced Senegalese Phrasebook & Information Guide. Publish date TBA.

J’apprends le Wolof #3

Translated from J’apprends le Wolof by Jean-Leopold Diouf et Marina Yaguello. This is the introduction to the book.

Introduction

1. Design Manual / Conception du manuel

This book is a method of learning wolof, a language foreign to francophones. It is intended for residents, the cooperating, businessmen and tourists. It could also be useful for teachers in national languages, or any other person wishing to have a better knowledge of the language wolof.

The method is especially designed for a learning guide. However, it is possible to use individually. In one case as in others, can not be overemphasized recommend a learner’s most total immersion in environments requiring a practice wolof.

To accommodate the manifold needs of learners, we chose themes as diverse as family relationships, professional, social, friendly, commercial, civil, etc.., Containing an elementary lexicon, but enough to face a different situations communication.

In addition, we sought to ensure a balance between learning wolof by a communicative approach and learning wolof by an analytical approach.

The points of grammar that may fall in the manual have been carefully selected and should allow the learner to acquire the basic structures of wolof. All these points are explained in the units or they appear.

The written exercises are planned at the end of each unit. Their number varies from one unit to another depending on the difficulty of the grammar has acquired.

All exercises should be made and, as many times as a learning experience need.

For each exercise, a model is given. The learner must study the structure therein is made, before formulating are shown next to each segment of the year. A system cache that the learner is confectionnera prevent him throwing a glance the answer before he made the effort necessary.

2. The place of wolof in Senegal / La place du wolof au Sénégal

The wolof is part of the language group called west-Atlantic. It is mainly spoken in Senegal and Gambia, but also in Mauritania.

There are, in Senegal, six languages that have received the status of national languages: wolof, Serer, Pulaar, the Mandingo, soninke and Diola.

These languages were officially selected for communication in the media, and education. Moreover, the French remains the official language.

Of the six national languages, wolof is most spoken. It is the language of ethnic wolof who figure 2,285,000 people, representing 40% of the population of Senegal. The traditional Wolof area extends from north to south, from the delta of the atlantic coast of the desert Ferlo.

But it is also wolof language vehicle. About 80% of the population on the practice throughout the territory and this, mainly in urban areas.

The advantage that the wolof had on other national languages can not be explained both by the number of native wolof or by their geographical distribution (Walo, Cayor, Diolof, Baol, Saloum) and by the fact that the first contacts s’effectuèrent colonial powers with the Wolof and made the area wolof the pole of attraction for other ethnic groups. In mid wolof, the day saw the first counters and, with them, groundnut basin or develop a flourishing trade, crowned by the installation of railway Dakar – St. Louis.

In brief remarks on the language wolof / Brèves remarques sur la langue wolof

The wolof, as many African languages, is a language classes nominal. These classes (eight in number two in the singular and plural) play a role comparable to that grammatical gender in the Indo-European languages. Each class is marked by a [index class] is by a consonant. This consonant serves as a base for training all determinants and substitutes name (defined and indefinite articles concerning, interrogative, indefinite). These determinants or substitutes therefore differ for each class, the initial consonant, désinence remaining the same.

The city of Dakar is a melting pot or just blend all ethnic groups in Senegal and even neighbouring countries: wolof it undergoes a simplification because it is talking more and more by non-native speakers for whom it is a second or a third language. Thus, in its manifold vehicular and urban, a distinction of class indices is not always respected. The class – b (most productive) tends to absorb the other. In particular, it is in this class that fit all the words and borrowing new words needed presenter asked whether a learner is likely to hear in the streets. We opted ultimately for some sort of compromise, which reflects fairly well through the use wolophones native urbanized. The class indices are complied except for the numeral benn (one), serving also indefinite article, which tends to be used alone, regardless of class.

The identification in space and in particular the opposition near / distant plays a very important role in language. Where a great variability of adverbs of place. The notion of near / distant also in nominal determination (and, as defined in article owns several forms).

The system can record divert even more francophones. The integrate personal pronouns mode and the appearance of the verb. So the pronoun that varies and not the basis of the word, which remains unchanged. In addition, there is no [time] Strictly speaking, the tracking time out from a context and situation of enunciation. The different conjugations (by varying the pronoun) are introduced gradually in the units. For an overview of the system, we see a grammatical annex at the end of volume.

J’apprends le Wolof #2

Self Test – Can You Translate These Phrases? (A, 1-10)

These are from the book Junniy Leebuy Wolof by Mànsóor Xumma.

  1. Aat yaa ngi woy géwél yi.
  2. Ab jatang, loo bàcc bàcc mu xasawum saw.
  3. Ab loot, tàbbi na ba tàyyi bàyyi fa rew bu nyor.
  4. Ab sàmm a waral béy deewul.
  5. Ab ndóol, ku mu yàqal nyakk nga.
  6. Ag bóli, mbedd la; waaye kenn du ca wetal i béy.
  7. Alal du faj dee, gàcce lay faj.
  8. Alali golo, ca lex ba.
  9. Alali jàmbur, ba fa la sant.
  10. Alali jàmbur, ku ca banya kasara, leneen nga ca begg.

P.S. – I don’t have the answers for these…You’ll have to figure them out for yourself!

Keep it on the D.L.

Apparently in Senegalese culture they tend to keep some things secret such as trips and births until just before the time. I am told it is to “protect” the thing which is about to happen and at least for trips it is also so that people will not have time to burden you with things to take with you (to deliver to friends, family, etc.)

About the ACI (Baobab Center) Language Program

Africa Consultants International is a development-oriented consulting organization working in the fields of communication and training, primarily in Africa. Among its many activities, ACI offers courses in French, English and national languages (Wolof, Pulaar, Diola, Mandinka and Serer).

Courses range from intensive instruction (5 hours per day, five days a week) to less arduous schedules. Classes are organized based on requests, and class schedules are designed to respond to the specific professional needs of the students. From 1 to 6 students with comparable language levels can form a class. A limit of 6 students per class allows ACI instructors to provide greater individual attention and speaking practice for each participant.

Classes take place at ACI’s Baobab Training and Resource Center, a comfortable, homey setting conducive to serious study and friendly contact and communication. Emphasis is placed on oral-aural skills (speaking and comprehension) with reading and writing used as supports. Orientation to Africa and cross-cultural information and training are routinely integrated into the language program and more detailed orientations can be organized upon request.

The ACI Wolof Course is a one hundred hour introduction to the language for beginners. The course is divided into four 25 hour sessions.

Contact ACI:

Africa Consultants International
Baobab Training and Resource Center
509 SICAP Baobabs
B.P. 5270, Dakar
Telephone: 25.36.37
Fax: 24.07.41

http://www.acibaobab.org

When Arriving at the DKR International Airport

After arriving in Senegal, as you make your way out of the airport you will need to have your passport and yellow fever certificate ready to show to the security officials. After you have collected your luggage and made your way past the security officials and outside to the front of the airport you will find yourself surrounded by people asking if you would like to exchange money, get a taxi, help carrying luggage, a tour guide, etc. It is best that you politely refuse all these offers and walk confidently to one of the many taxis waiting at the curb. Under no circumstance let anybody grab your luggage even if they seem to be doing so just to help out, they will expect that you pay them for their service and under the rare circumstance may even steal your luggage. Also a lot of these people work together so if you let someone carry your luggage chances are he will take your baggage directly to his guy’s taxi and “negotiate” the fare on “your behalf”.

Text excerpt from the upcoming Janga Wolof produced Senegalese Phrasebook & Information Guide. Publish date TBA.

Before You Go To Senegal

Things you will need to enter Senegal;

Passport – You can either visit the websites below or your local post office to apply for a new passport or to renew an old one. It can take up to 6 weeks to recieve your passport, also passports must be valid for at least 3 months on entry, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Canadian, U.K. & U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays less than 3 months.

Canada www.ppt.gc.ca
U.K. www.ips.gov.uk
U.S.A. travel.state.gov

Vaccines & Medications – Visit a travel clinic or your health care provider to determine what you will need. You should allow up to 8 weeks before you travel to recieve all of your vaccinations and for them to take effect. You should also budget a few hundred dollars as it can get very expensive to take all the recommended vaccinations and medications. At the very least you should make sure all of your routine shots are up to date (measles, tetanus, etc.), get the yellow fever shot (it can be hard to enter Senegal without it) and pills for malaria. It is also a good idea to bring anti-diarrheal medicine. Visit the websites below for more information.

Centers for Disease Control www.cdc.gov
World Health Organization www.who.int

Some Facts & Figures About Senegal

POPULATION:
12,853,259 (July 2008 est.)

ETHNIC GROUPS:
Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 9.4%

RELIGIONS:
Muslim 94%, Christian 5% (mostly Roman Catholic), indigenous beliefs 1%

LANGUAGES:
French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

CLIMATE:
Tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind.

Source: CIA – The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sg.html

Visit the New SenegalOnline!

Translated from the site:

The site senePortal.com facelift: new design, new structure
dynamic new content. We hope that this fine tool will enable members
and the public to communicate better, drawing on news of Senegal.
There is still some adjustments to make (potential bugs recalcitrant)
and above all a good part of the contents of the old site to “repatriate” on this new
platform. We have also opened a special discussion on the forum,
or you can send us your comments and suggestions.

We invite you now to become a member to make a full use
Site: managing your member page, your blog, participation in the forum …
Everyone can participate in the life of the site. On the forum of course, but also in writing
news, sending photos to the gallery, pointing out events, proposing
videos and links. If you were already on seneportal.com member, no need
you again, your account has been transferred.

Do not hesitate to give us your comments by mail
senegalonline@gmail.com or on the forum.

A Short History on Senegal

Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times. Islam established itself in the Senegal River valley in the 11th century. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the Mandingo empires to the east; the Jolof Empire of Senegal also was founded during this time.

Various European powers – Portugal, the Netherlands, and England – competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward, until in 1677, France ended up in possession of what had become an important slave trade departure point – the infamous island of Gorée next to modern Dakar.

In January 1959, Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became fully independent on June 20, 1960. The Federation broke up on August 20, 1960. Senegal and Sudan (renamed the Republic of Mali) proclaimed independence. Léopold Senghor, internationally known poet, politician, and statesman, was elected Senegal’s first president in August 1960.

After the breakup of the Mali Federation, President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together under a parliamentary system. In December 1962, their political rivalry led to an attempted coup by Prime Minister Dia. The coup was put down without bloodshed and Dia was arrested and imprisoned. Senegal adopted a new constitution that consolidated the President’s power. In 1980, President Senghor retired from politics, and handed power over to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf, in 1981.

Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia on February 1, 1982. However, the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group in the Casamance region has clashed sporadically with government forces since 1982.

Abdou Diouf was president between 1981 and 2000. Diouf served four terms as President. In the presidential election of 2000, he was defeated in a free and fair election by opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade. Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of power, and its first from one political party to another.

Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye Wade was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but complaints of fraud led opposition parties to boycott June 2007 legislative polls.

Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Senegal

Senegal Independence Day

Senegal gained partial independence from France today in 1960 with complete independence achieved upon the dissolution of the Mali Federation on August 20th of the same year.

Brief video of Independence Day in Senegal…

Wolof Lim Ak Xaalis

Wolof Numbers & Money

In Senegal they use the franc CFA (Communauté financière d’Afrique). But the traditional unit of currency is the dërëm which is counted by fives. Usually when dealing with money most people will deal strictly with the French terms for simplicity. If Wolof is used the dërëm is implied if not specifically said. So in the example below junni is 5000, not 1000, even though dërëm has been left off.

teemeeri dërëm = 500 CFA
(100 x 5 = 500)

ñaari teemeeri dërëm = 1000 CFA
(2 x 100 x 5 = 1000)

ñetti teemeeri dërëm = 1500 CFA
(3 x 100 x 5 = 1500)

juróom benni teemeeri dërëm = 3000 CFA
(5 + 1 x 100 x 5 = 3000)

juróom ñetti teemeeri dërëm = 4000 CFA
(5 + 3 x 100 x 5 = 4000)

junni = 5000 CFA
(1000 x 5 = 5000)

I do not know if this is common or just happened to be the people I was around but instead of, for example, saying ‘fifteen hundred‘ as we might say in the USA for 1500, they would say ‘one thousand five hundred‘. Also CFA is pronounced like ‘see-uff-uh‘ almost like ‘safer‘ with an odd accent.

Travel Vocabulary IV

See Travel Vocabulary III

——————————————————-

Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

bazin – dyed fabrics that are beaten to a shine with wooden clubs

campement – could be loosely translated as ‘hostel’, ‘inn’ or ‘lodge’, or even ‘motel’; it is not a camping ground (Senegal)

djembe – short, goat hide-covered drum

fromager – kapok tree; also known as silk-cotton tree (Senegal)

gasoil – diesel fuel

Inch’ Allah – God willing, ie hopefully (Arabic, but used by Muslims in Africa)

marabout – Muslim holy man

paillote – shelter with thatched roof and walls; usually on the beach or around an open-air bar-restaurant (Senegal)

sai-sai – Wolof term for a womanizer; also used for youngsters smooth-talking women, usually with sexual but sometimes criminal intentions

telecentre – privately owned telephone bureau (Gambia)

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 3rd Edition.

Guest Post: ‘Toubab Cuts It All Off’ by Katie Krueger

Toubab Cuts It All Off

by Katie Krueger

One day, the Senegalese heat made me desperate to find ways to cool
down. Impulsively, I walked into the nearest Salon de Coiffure and
asked for a haircut and shampoo. As I was getting my hair washed, I
remembered what Richard, my stylist back home, used to say: “Katie,
we’re not just cutting off your hair; we are cutting style and
elegance into your hair.”

The Senegalese stylist sat me down in front of the mirror and we went
through the familiar dialogue.

“How much do you want cut off?”

“About two inches, I really want it layered…”

“Here?” she asked, tapping with the scissors on the bunch of hair
fisted in her grip.

Since she had not combed it out, parted it down the middle or
sectioned if off, I was sure this was just our planning session.

“Yes. I like it best when it sort of comes behind…”

CHOMP. I watched stunned as clumps of my hair, ragged-edged and
uneven, fell to the floor.

The looks of bewilderment that she threw towards my head made it clear
to me that my new coiffeuse had never cut a white woman’s hair before.
It was to late to change the situation, so I just sat back and watched
in amusement, as each chop seemed to both confuse and fascinate her.
When she got to the back of my head, she looked at me through the
mirror and her eyes waved the white flag of surrender. I glanced over
my head of uneven tufts and patches of hair and decided to cut my
losses.

I thanked and paid her and ran to my friend’s house, where we spent
the afternoon trying to cut back in the style and elegance that had
been swept away at the Salon de Coiffure.

__________

Please visit the author’s website at www.katiekrueger.com/blog.

Travel Vocabulary III

See Travel Vocabulary II

——————————————————-

Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

auberge – hostel or small hotel

balafon – wooden xylophone typically played by griots

calèche – horse-drawn cart used to carry goods and people, particularly in the rural regions of Senegal

dibiterie – grilled-meat stall

fête – festival (Senegal)

gargotte – basic eating house or stall (Senegal)

IMF – International Monetary Fund

kora – 21-string harp-lute

maison de passage – very basic place to sleep, often near bus stations; with a bed or mat on the floor and little else, and nearly always doubling as a brothel; also called chambres de passage

Ndiaga Ndiaye – white Mercedes bus, used as public transport; also called alham (Senegal)

pagne – length of cloth worn around the waist as a skirt (Senegal)

quartier – area

sabar – tall, thin, hourglass drum

taxi-brousse – bush taxi (Senegal)

village artisanal – craft market (Senegal)

zouk – style of music, originally from Guadeloupe, that mixes African and Latin-American rhythms

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 3rd Edition.

Culture Notes – Greetings

Extended greetings are an important part of social interaction and many doors will open for you if you are capable of exchanging simple greeting phrases in the local language. Even a few words make a big difference.

Most areas are Islamic, and upon entering someone’s home, announce your arrival with a confident ‘Salaam aleikum’ (peace be with you), and your presence will be acknowledged with ‘Aleikum salaam’ (and peace be with you).

This is followed by inquiries about your health, the health of your family, the state of your affairs and those of your children. You’re never expected to give an honest answer at this point. In Gambia things are always fine; in Senegal the response is always ‘Ça va’. Never mind the real troubles that might be plaguing you – these can be mentioned later in the conversation.

Although it’s not necessary for foreigners to go through the whole routine, it’s important to use greetings whenever possible. Even if you’re just changing money, negotiating a taxi fee or asking directions, precede your request with a simple. ‘Hello, how are you? Can you help me please?’, rather than plunging right in.

Borrowed from; The Gambia & Senegal, Lonely Planet, 3rd Edition, 2006

Travel Vocabulary II

See Travel Vocabulary I

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Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

alham – white Mercedes bus, also called N’Diaga N’Diaye in Dakar

beignet – simple deep-fried donut (Senegal)

calesh – horse-drawn taxi usually seating about three people behind the driver

demi-pension – half board (dinner, bed and breakfast) (Senegal)

essence – petrol (gas) for car (Senegal)

fanals – large lanterns; also the processions during which the lanterns are carried through the streets

gare routière – bus and bush-taxi station, (also called autogare and gare voiture) (Senegal)

hôtel de ville – town hall (Senegal)

in sha’ Allah – God willing, ie, hopefully (Arabic, but used by Muslims in Africa)

lumo – weekly market, usually in border areas

mairie – town hall; mayor’s office (Senegal)

paletuviers – mangroves (Senegal)

quatre-quatre – four-wheel-drive car (4WD or 4×4)

riz yollof – vegetables and/or meat cooked in a sauce of oil and tomatoes

Senegambia – the region of Senegal and Gambia

tampon hygiénique – tampon (also tampon periodique and serviette hygiénique) (Senegal)

yassa poulet – grilled chicken marinated in an onion-and-lemon sauce (Senegal)

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 2nd Edition.