The artisan expo is finally starting to take some shape. Katherine and I headed into Dakar yesterday to meet with a possible venue. Since it's inception, the Atlantic Club (aka the American Club), the pool where we hang out in Dakar, has hosted the event and as Katherine and I found out yesterday - they know way more about it than we do. The two of us were nervous about getting our point across, explaining that we don't have solid numbers yet, and myriad other issues. I had called and harassed the poor events coordinator every day this week to confirm that we did indeed have a meeting, but all of this was unnecessary because they totally have everything under control. It was obvious Saliou, our contact at the American club, already knew all the details and we had a five minute meeting in which he ran down the list, told us the prices, and requested that we give him at least a week's notice on the final numbers. The meeting was almost scary in it's efficiency.
Securing a location for the Artisan Expo was definitely the the catalyst for my trip to Dakar, but the lure of softball was a powerful secondary draw. In order to prepare for WAIST, the West African Invitational Softball Tournament, in February, the Dakar region PCVs play in a weekly league. When I say prepare, I mean it. I spent the several hours after my meeting and before the game sitting by a pool eating a delicious chicken wrap and having a couple of cold beverages. And then, just to keep our strength up, Katherine and I shared a delectable plastic container of nachos between the sixth and seventh innings, obviously accompanied by beverages fitting a softball game. God Bless America (and the US Embassy who runs the field!). The game was a big one. We went up against a team who we have a lot of history with from this past WAIST. The team is a Senegalese team who actually PRACTICES and doesn't imbibe any of the said beverages the Dakar region team was having. A few amazing plays combined with dumb sheer luck and a whole lot of trash talking led the Peace Corps team to a 3-2 victory. For the record, I make a mean second baseman. To show how serious I was I even brought my tennis shoes all the way from Thies instead of going the usual barefoot route.
Addition to my holiday wish list: A children's baseball glow. Embarrassingly enough my hands are too small to close regular gloves.
After reveling in a our win we hit the showers and then headed downtown. There were two highlights:
1. Katherine and I have found a new restaurant in Dakar and had an amazing Thai beef salad.
2. We went to a club to go dancing. The crowd: 10 PCVs, 5 young, American ex-pats we know, 6 Indian businessmen, 3 Senegalese men who followed us into the bar. After over an hour of the PCV crew being the only people on the dance floor and belting out the lyrics to Akon and Lady Gaga songs, the DJ put on the "Slumdog Millionaire" theme song. Before we even recognized the song, all of the Indian businessmen had already hit the dance floor and started rocking it. It was beyond amazing and no description I write here could possibly do it justice.
This morning Katherine and I woke up after potentially the best night's sleep I've ever had at the regional house and ate a delicious brunch downtown accompanied by ice cream before heading out. I then jumped in a sept-place headed for Thies where I almost died from dehydrating even though I drank 1.5 liters of water on my 1.5 hour trip back. It is so hot today. I arrived back at home looking like an absolute disaster. My ever loving mother promptly told me to go take a shower before I greet her. I then spent most of my afternoon sitting around reading and trying to convince Ahmed that the delicious watermelon I brought my family as a gift was as sweet as candy. He refused to believe me until I showed him that you can also spit watermelon seeds across the yard. A small victory for Alyssa and fruit.
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago