Hundred Dollars

Senegal, Djourbel

June 2017
At 08:00 AM, I stood up and went straight to the bathroom. It was twice as big as in Kadim’s apartment. After the shower, the kids were already playing in the living room. While Jasmin’s mother was preparing breakfast for us, we learned the French alphabet more intense and some simple words. The breakfast was fresh brioche with butter or Nutella.

At lunchtime, before I left the house, they shared with me their address and which bus stops close to it. Omar handed me over his visit card from his shop. On it was two phone numbers, which I could always call if I want to come back or need assistance. Last we took some photos with his family. Eventually, Omar and I left.

Back in the city, we went together to the market where we searched anyone who could exchange my hundred dollars. The first trader gave me not enough money, but the second one, a carpet trader, used a decent exchange rate.

After that Omar found a bus for me to Pikine, this is the central bus station in Dakar. The place was full of long-distance buses, mini-buses, and taxi drivers. In Africa, everything is about talking with random people if there is a spot available to go to your destination. No ticket office or information board about ongoing buses. There were also no bus-maps in paper form for all these public transportations, a local I asked recently said there exists an app which is under construction but during my whole trip I won’t use my phone either the internet. At least I had my Senegal tour guide with me, which was written by a person who traveled for many months in Senegal and collected a lot of information. I had to decide which bus I would take and to which place. Djourbel was only two hours away from Dakar, and I should be able to reach it before sunset. The cheapest option was the long-distance bus, which has space for up to fifty persons. The mini-bus could load up to twelve and the taxi, of course, three or four travelers. In Africa, you must wait until the bus is at least stuffed with eighty percent of the available space, and they have no fixed departure time. Because it was already late afternoon, I decided for a mini-bus which cost me around two thousand CFA-franc. At 04:00 PM I could enter the bus, and one hour later it left the station.

I was still optimistic about arriving early, but unfortunately, it was almost 09:00 PM. It was dark like on my arrival day, and of course, a lot of taxi drivers were waiting only for me to sell me a night in a cheap hotel. I said I lived in Africa for two tears, and I knew where I was going. Of course, I had no plan, so I walked away from the big noise into the village. I asked several locals, and they told me to walk maybe five hundred meters more along the street, and there will be many houses.

Finally, a man who was standing near a newspaper shop which I asked for a bed, was hospitable and invited me. He introduced me quickly to his family, which were all awake and discussing. He owned two buildings, one was equipped with a couple of beds and the other one where his wife was when I arrived, contained a kitchen and living room.

My host already confided me a secret and wanted to show me his beloved. I did not expect a long way probably she lived a few houses away. Therefore I said yes, and we kept walking. My feet were hurting after forty minutes walking through the streets. I always tried to start a conversation with him, but his French-skills consisted of a couple of words like mon amour, tranquille, travail, grande Senegal, and mon ami. Eventually, we arrive, and he was sitting with his beloved on the bed and was trying to flirt with her. Similar behavior I experienced when I was on the way with Kadim. To impress a foreigner, they thought it is essential to show that. Luckily, he was distracted, and I met two men outside of the building, eating dinner, and watching television. One was the brother of the girl my host liked. I could taste the food and relax with them. When I asked for the time, it was already 11:30 PM. I had to convince my host to go home because I was tired. I lied and told him his beloved was terrific, and we could return tomorrow again, and suddenly he stood up, and we went back. At 01:30 AM, I fall asleep at his home...