The day after our visit to Dakar we headed southeast in search of Niakhar, the village where Jessie and Jessica have been spending service. Initially, plans were that the two students would be working in a clinic in Niakhar itself, but when those plans fell through our local contact Ferdenand helped get the two placed in a Clinic in the more remote village of Soma. They now spend Mondays and Tuesdays in Soma, which entails a 30 minute motorcycle ride down sandy pathways with backpacks, mattresses, and students strapped on tightly. We arrived on a Tuesday which meant that we were able to visit them at the Soma Clinic. The Clinic is an annex of Bartimeé Hospital in Thiés which is a mission of the Evangelical Baptist Church. We arrived to find the students assisting with a consultation. After a tour of the clinic and surrounding facilities, we piled back in our taxi and headed back to Niakhar.
In Niakhar we met Jessie and Jessica’s large extended N’Gom (mother) and Faye (father) family. After several hours of visiting we were served a meal of ceebu jën, a rice and fish meal that is something of a national staple here in Senegal. Jessie and Jessica seemed well acclimated to their service placement despite only having two days of formal work. And, they have been having their share of adventures, including a horse cart ride to a local wedding that triggered Jessie’s horse allergy and gave her family a bit of a fright. The event has become something of a family joke, as such things sometimes do in families, and the father insisted that before we left we come out back and take a picture of Jessie holding the lead rope of the family horse.