Mbour Travel Blog

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The one day I oversleep is the morning I have the most to do before leaving. Great. Time to power pack. Power pack all my stuff to take to SIT. I don't even have time to use my Senegalese homestay bathroom for one last time before I leave. Sad.

Even sadder is the fact that my family didn't even realize that I was leaving. The ladies who see me dragging out my massive luggage just get mad that I didn't say goodbye to everyone. I tried, but no one ever is around in this house. So I promise to come back next Saturday during some down time to say 'au revoir.'

The next task is going to be fun. Not only do I have to hail a cab, which is a task in itself, but I need to hail a cab and bargain for a price with all my bags. I ask one of my homeschool uncles what a good price is, but I'm pretty sure I let the taximan rip me off. I just had no more energy to flirt and hassle with another guy. (Who thought I would ever say that?)

Arriving at SIT, Karim helps me unload my extraordinarily heavy baggage and I walk into the office to find -who else - our favorite grad student tag along Jill! Of course, Jill has slyly gotten herself into the vacation/relaxation sections of our program. For a small fee, of course.

I brush my teeth in the SIT bathroom, then Jill and I head across the street to buy some espresso and bread for breakfast. Thank God for Papis also buying bread from the baguette man. We probably would have walked off with two whole sticks of bread instead of just the "snack-size."

At SIT, more people have arrived, but of course, Ken is still not there. So, I decide to accompany Jay back across the street to buy another espresso. Man, I am going to be so jittery by lunch. Especially since Ken and the last of the other students arrive almost an hour late. An HOUR. I could have slept in for an HOUR, or I could have finished my farewell preparations in that HOUR.

We finally load up the bus and take a pit stop in Rufisque at the local equivalent of a convenience store where I pick up some juice. I give some of my cookies away to the street children tapping on our bus window. Hey, I need to lose weight and shouldn't be eating a lot of cookies anyway. Win-win.

Before hitting Mbour, we stop at Bandia National Park to do a little mini-safari. Got to do something like this for the Africa first-timers. It's actually really cool; we saw a bunch of cool animals, and the guide showed us a hollowed-out baobab tree once used as a place to store human bones. We all whipped out our telephotos to get shots of giraffes, rhinos, water buffaloes, warthogs, birds, and a monkey. Poor Frankie, she was trying so hard to get a really close-up shot of the gorgeous birds, but as soon as she set up the shot, the driver started moving and the birds scattered away.

After the park, we arrive at Mbour. The hotel is this maze of shell-paved pathways leading to tightly-packed rooms in huts, lush colors of plants and painted walls surrounding you. We had lunch in their restaurant, then commence with the first group of practicum presentations. They are all amazing. I start to feel a bit nervous about my upcoming final presentation tomorrow.

Then, we had to hit the beach. The only thing was you'd be swimming in trash a good majority of the time. Occasionaly you'd feel a plastic bag that you'd step on, or some kind of string would tangle around your ankles. Fun. Lilli took the cake. We are all just wading the water, and she starts screaming at the top of her lungs, freaking out. No, Lilli. It's not a fish or a snake or an eel. It's just trash.

A group of local guys then approached us in the water. As they practiced their English with us, one of them told us his story of how his visa to the US just got denied a second time. He was offered a football (soccer) scholarship to a university in Nebraska. But he won't be able to take it because I can't provide enough proof that he will return once his studies are finished. As we were walking back to the hotel, our discussion turned towards how the system of dealing with immigrants and tourists into the US is flawed. Sure, I can understand how it's designed to keep out illegals and other people with no real legit motives besides wanting to be in the States, but they should somehow have a way to screen people like the guy we met so he can come for and education. An education, not just freedom or riches.

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photo by: Manu32