The day that I became a Millionaire

“To get the price in Euros, take the local price and remove the last three zeros and then multiply the remaining number by 1.5”, it was my first day in Dakar and my boss was sharing some Dakar life tips with me. Like most people who first arrive in Senegal it was initially sluggish work…

The so-called Universal Currency

“What time shall we have the meeting” I interrupt M., as he politely blinks up at me from his computer screen. “Whenever you like, whenever you like.” is his automatic reply. After nearly two years of working side-by-side with the head of our team in Senegal I’ve grown wise in his ways and I know…

The sole of the matter : my Shoe Internship Day 1

I’m welcomed in to Djiby’s atelier a place on the work bench, cushion included, has been made for me. Today I’ll be taking notes and photographing the process. My mission: to learn how shoes are made, from start to finish. We’re with Djiby’s assistant, Pape, and the two men will be working in parallel for…

A pretty blouse, another tear masked

Stories about appearances. A year ago, in my day-job in Dakar, we were having a horrible time coming to terms with a jumble of various damaged rice bags belonging to different receivers. Imagine thousands upon thousands of bags, some in containers, rotting, others thrown into warehouse corners covered in cobwebs their colourful logos faded with…

A Timeless run around the Pink Lake

It’s not usual that I’m up at 6:30 on a Saturday, and on the highway to the Pink Lake (“Lac Rose”) by 8am. We’re headed for the first 10km race around the lake – heading there not to race so much as to enjoy the jogging and walking around the unique pink waters of the…

Arms raised to me

Now. Raising one hand, marvel at the mechanisms, the magic, the life-force creation here around, in soil, sun and sand. Raise the other hand and the spirit slips through my fingers, its natural rhythm is in flight with the flocks, in tune with trance of trickling of the stream, with the whistle of the wind….

Bandia Wild Animal Park

Somewhere in the divine timing of right-after-rainy-season (when the foliage is still nice and green) and before-the-ostriches-get-aggressive (and visiting the park gets a wee bit more dangerous)… we visited the wild animal park of Bandia. Here’s sharing some of our visit with you through images. Heading out. First sighting, the largest antelope in the world,…

A Saturday description

As I’m sitting in my living room, I look around myself, all the way around, and I tell you what I see. In front of me are the windowed doors to my terrace, on the terrace are the plants, new plants too, I brought a baby, baobab tree home today. I was told white blossoms…

The Journey of a single bag of rice – Part I

At first glance, unloading cargo from a vessel looks like a horde of ants invading a juicy piece of cake. The vessel is huge, the people are little, and up and down the swaying ladder attached to the side of the ship, we (underwriters), insurers, other surveyors, dockers and supervisors climb on board to join…

The 4 biggest differences when working with the French (and Francophones)

French is the official language in nearly 30 countries around the world. France was busy colonizing many parts of the New World and Africa…the remaining effects of which are the spreading of France’s language, culture and mentality to many nations around the world. It is my pleasure and honour to have discovered several Francophone (meaning…

Aïd el-Fitr (la Korité) festivities in Medina – the images

Celebrating the end of Ramadan in Medina, typical African neighbourhood of Dakar – in images. Peeking in on the women in the hair salons, the children in the streets and the beautiful, festive wear for the occasion. Includes spontaneous bike tricks from passing youth. …and, our fair dose of what I like to call “lounge…

Greetings from two months in

Me: Salam aleekum. Taxi Driver: Malekum Salam. (conversation around destination and taxi price ensues, in (my) patchy Wolof) Taxi Driver: How long have you been here? (a trickle of sweat slips down my back) Me: Two months. Ñaari wer.…Two months, and a bit. Taxi Driver: You are Senegalese now. Me (to myself): It’s time I…

Café Dakar with Stefania Zimmer

Café Dakar shares interviews with real people living in Dakar, Senegal. We talk about life here in West Africa’s francophone capital. The ups, the downs, what we love and what we could do without. Café Dakar is all about diversity and tolerance; it’s about work, life, fun and whatever we feel people should know about…

A Sunday stroll on the beach in Yoff

Today is an important day for Muslims as they make their way to the Yoff Mosque to listen to a well-known Marabout speak. Everyone is dressed in white. Why? A young woman tells us this is so “you cannot tell the difference between the rich and the poor”. Then, a walk along the beach turning…