Toubab – Senegal

–A toubab is a Central and West African term to describe white Europeans and Americans. I, being Canadian, embrace this name.–

Dakar, Senegal. I stepped off the plane in Dakar after a long flight from Casablanca (long because I connected three different times to get here). Once I stepped off the plane and on to the tarmac, the African heat hit me hard. I joined the long line to receive my visa and was off into the late night world of Dakar. A taxi driver overcharged me on my way to the hostel, but hey when you’re a ‘toubab’ just arriving in the middle of the night, you’ll pay anything to be taken to a nice place to sleep.

My week in Dakar was spent absorbing the culture and music. I took some friends from the hostel with me to see Senegalese hip hop artist Didier Awadi perform music from his new record “Ma revolution.” The best part was when my friends urged me to call him, because I was given his phone number before arriving, so when I did call he picked up and I asked him if he was playing a show in Dakar. He responds: “Yes, I’m playing a show just for you.” I ask: “Just for me?” He says: “No, I’m playing at a place called ‘Just for you’ in Dakar.” I laughed. We all headed down there and it was great seeing Awadi perform again (I also saw him at this year’s Nuits d’Afrique festival in Montreal).

In all, I feel my experience in Senegal was exceptional. I met some great people, including local couchsurfers at a CS meeting, which was held at the Institut Francais on my last day in Dakar. I already miss the hustle of Senegal and negotiating taxi fares in my broken ‘franglais’ which here seems to function much better than in Montreal for some strange reason. But I hardly understand what the Senegalese say back to me. I think that’s what I’ll miss most, all the talking. The Senegalese are good at that, to say the least!

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About

Adam Bemma is a journalist and media development advisor working in East Africa and Southeast Asia.

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