Of Two Shaved Legs and One Right Mind.

Some of the women that came to my "Welcome back to Dakar!" party.

This morning began as a “take-my-coffee-into-the-shower-with-me” kind of morning.

You think I’m joking, but I am so. completely. serious.

It’s how my sleepy Sunday mornings tend to begin in Senegal-and there’s a method to my madness. You see, our work weeks in Dakar are Tuesday-Saturday. Constraints of the English language prevent me from being able to adequately describe how utterly exhausted I am when in the single greatest display of sheer willpower known to man, I force my tired little body off the floor and into the kitchen to make coffee every early Sunday morning before church.

Coffee, it should be noted, is quite literally all I’m capable of when I first wake up. If there’s ever a middle-of-the-night fire at my house and you don’t find me huddled on the front lawn with my wide-eyed roommates, when the firemen roll up make sure they head straight to the kitchen to look for the bewildered brunette sleepily measuring out heaping

spoonfuls of caramel truffle coffee grounds.

When you’re steeling yourself for [at least] a two hour church service, in French, in a sweltering, stuffy little room…well, one pot just isn’t going to cut it. Efficiency is everything-hence the coffee in the shower.

That, and honestly, there’s a fighting chance that I wouldn’t remember to rinse the shampoo out of my hair and shave both legs without that extra jolt.

Given the fact that I made it through church unscathed and am currently sitting here in my right mind, suds-free and with two shaved legs, I think it’s time for some snapshots of life in Dakar over the past week or so.   A taxi ride to my friend Awa’s house [She wanted to teach us how to cook. Simply another installment of “How to be a good Senegalese wife: 101”] afforded one of few elusive opportunities to sneak in some shots of life in the big city…

I love the color.

Awa offered to teach us how to make Tiebou Yappe. I ought to confess that whenever one of my sweet Senegalese friends offers to teach me how to cook a Senegalese dish, I always ask them to teach me how to make the exact same thing. [My favorite one. So sue me!]  Thus, I’ve “learned” how to make Tiebou Yappe  aproximately thirty times-and they all think I’m an incredibly quick learner…

This. This is the fattest baby that I have ever seen. He looked like a bowling ball. Christy came very close to taking him home with us…

Michelle learning how to be a good Senegalese wife. It’s amazing how many of the conversations with the women we work with veer towards relationships and marriage. I had a heartbreaking conversation with Awa’s cousin that day about her boyfriend-a man with a wife. With a sadly resigned look on her face, she very matter-of-factly told me that she was going to be “le deuxieme”. [The second wife.]  But that, friends, is another story for another time.

Chopping with Awa.

This sassy little girl was a hysterical distraction!

Tiebou Yappe. You never walk away from a Senegalese meal-you waddle. At best. This, I know.

Speaking of food, the boys are currently making dinner [be still, my beating heart!], which means that I get to lounge around and eat bon bons and peeled grapes while I wait for them to finish.

Or at least, sneak in a couple chapters of Great Expectations and another pot of coffee.


  1. Tricia King says:

    So, exactly what are the ingredients in Tiebou Yappe? I can never quite decide based on the photos you have posted! :) Btw, comforting to know that all is still right with the world – no matter where you are, you are still completely obsessed with coffee. As it should be . . . :)Hope to share some coffee time when you are back a LITTLE closer to Atlanta!

  2. Tiebou Yappe is rather confusing to explain. Every cook in the deep south has a different way to fry chicken-it’s the same thing with Tiebou Yappe in Senegal! ;) But basically, you make an enormous pot of rice with oil and spices in it [crushed up peppers, garlic, something called pimante], and then you stir in pieces of unidentifiable meat. [Normally lamb or beef.] You eat it Senegalese-style [on a huge platter and everybody just grabs a spoon or uses their hand], and there are decorative vegetables on top. [Some variation of cucumbers, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.] Sometimes there’s an oil/onion sauce eaten with it.

    There are days where my cup of coffee is my only grasp on normalcy. ;) Cannot wait for coffee time with you in a couple of months-…and Christmas baking! Oh goodness, now I’m going to smile all day. :) It’s not long now!

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