Monday, November 23, 2009

Runs in the Family

I haven't been sleep well so all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and read, but I dragged myself out of bed and I'm glad I did. When I opened my door I was greeted by a beautiful site... all of my family's water containers were full! Yay! So I took a bucket bath, pounded a Cliff bar, grabbed my bike and headed off to Dioss' gallery. He wanted to take to a school to see if I could do any type of IT class or something. I can't say that I was super excited to go to another school about the possibility of teaching another IT class, but Dioss has been so nice and he really wanted to take me there so I didn't know how to say no.

Once we got to the school I was equally impressed with how excited the principal and the teachers were that I was there. The principal and the president of the PTA both told me how happy I had come and that they were really excited to work with me. They were pretty effusive, which is always a good feeling. It is an elementary school and I will start going next week after Thanksgiving and Tabaski. The best part of the morning was walking around with Dioss after visiting the school. This parents live close by so we went to visit.

Everyone in Dioss' family is an artist and his parents' house is some kind of tropical paradise where I almost forgot that I was in Senegal. The compound has not only buildings, but a beautiful thatch roof hut and banana trees and a palm tree and an absolutely amazing gallery. While Dioss either does abstract work or the scenes of African women, his dad does very abstract African scenes and some Arabic language religious artwork. The abstract African themed work is amazing. He uses really bright colors and it's very geometric, but at the same time very fluid. It's awesome. He paints with oil paints on canvas, tin, and wood. He also does Arabic calligraphy on wood and tin which is awesome. He works it into African scenes and it's really cool.

After visiting Dioss' parents we went to his brother's gallery down the street. While Dioss and his dad both use really bright colors and are painters, his brother does mixed media pieces. I was immediately drawn to a sculpture that was a bunch of teapots suspended on a pipe covered in a papermache type substance and then painted. His work is very cool, but slightly darker than the rest of his family's paintings. It was very interesting to see the different ateliers. Dioss has started to take me around to meet other artists because he was just elected president of an artists' association in Thies and he wants to start a website to showcase all of their work. We've been talking about how we can make one together. Today some of my fears about its future sustainability were laid to rest when he told me that he wanted to do it step by step so he could run everything by himself. His parents also have the newest computer I've seen in Senegal and an internet connection so I'm very hopefully that this could be an awesome project. At the very least I'll get to go around to all these different artists and take pictures which will be really fun.

This afternoon I went to Keur Yaay as planned but no one was there and I waited for about half and hour and called a couple people and no one answered so I don't know what's up with that. I came home and cleaned my room in preparation for Tamar coming! Yay!

Tamar coming means I am on my way to Dakar tomorrow to meet up with a bunch of volunteers in my region to celebrate Thanksgiving. Up until today I've been able to live in complete denial that I wont be at home for the holidays this year. I am excited to see everyone and I will be getting a real Thanksgiving meal which will definitely be nice, but it will be sad not to be at home. Dakar will be fun and then Tabaski right after with Tamar. All good things.

Happy early Thanksgiving to everyone at home. Until Friday...


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Alyssa, we finally received the second postcard just yesterday. Enjoy your time in Dakar and know that we will miss you here. The party won't be the same but your Grandma Barber will add some of the flair and excitement that you normally provide. We are all very proud of you. The art sounds awesome, I can't wait to see more pictures. Will it be for sale via the internet when the website is up and running?

  2. I can tell you're tired by your typing.

    Have a wonderful time in Dakar. Enjoy being with your friends. Kick back and have fun.