After a day of rest from our Segou visit, we left on July 2nd for a day trip to Dakar to visit Erin, Lynn, and Matt. Erin and Lynn have been working every morning in a center that provides breakfast, showers, medical care, and some entertainment for the Talibé. The Talibé are young boys, primarily from poor rural families, who live and study with an Islamic teacher called a Marabou. The Talibé typically spend the mornings and evenings memorizing the Koran and much of the rest of the day seeking donations of food and money to help support their dara (Koranic school). A variety of Christian missions and secular organizations have emerged to help meet the needs of the boys when alms giving is not enough. The project that Erin and Lynn work with is a joint effort of the Senegalese Baptist Mission and the Assembly of God. When we arrived a crowd of young Talibé boys were finishing up their breakfast and watching television on long wooden benches. Erin and Lynn were washing dishes in the kitchen and came out to give us a tour of the facilities, during which Lynn was called away to tend to an injury that one of the boys had sustained. The center is located in a building that also houses a school named La Renaissance des Sourds, which provides classes for deaf children. The two GC women taught computer skills to these deaf children until school let out for break at the end of June.
From the Talibé center we traveled to the Keur Yakaar Clinic where Matt is working full time and Lynn part time. The Clinic was developed by Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and provides a full range of general health services including dental care. Matt and Lynn have been warmly welcomed and have been able to experience a wide range of services from working in the pharmacy to providing first aid for a wide variety of injuries. When we met up with Matt he was assisting in the treatment of a woman with severe burns to her leg caused by an iron. Matt and Lynn introduced us to their colleagues and gave us a comprehensive tour of the facilities before we set out to meet their host families.
Matt is living in the Scat Urbaan neighborhood of Dakar in an airy third or fourth floor apartment with the Koba family. His family includes a mom and dad who are both working professionals, two precocious younger brothers, a medical student and the young woman who cooks and cleans for the family. Erin and Lynn live in the Maristes neighborhood about a twenty minute ride from Matt’s family. They live with pastor Robert Makalebo his wife Nanette and two young sisters.