After two busy day trips, we spent Saturday in the village of Ngollar. Adama, our local coordinator, and his extended family invited us to visit their village to get a sense of rural life in Senegal. We knew that there would be special food and music, but none of us were prepared for the celebration this community planned for us!
We arrived around noon, just in time to watch the local griot butcher a goat we would be helping to cook and eat that afternoon. As we waited for lunch, some of us helped cut onions, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Others sat and played with children or lounged in the shade of the large tree in the center of the concession. Tea was prepared. We sat on mats and listened to Adama share stories about his life and about Senegalese spirituality. Eventually, after several hours of cooking and conversation, a delicious meal of Tchiou Yap (goat & rice) was laid out for us. We shared the meal with the rest of Adama’s family concession, including at least 30 adults/youth and an equally large number of small children.
After the meal, we made our way to a large area just outside the concession where a sound system was set up and where local musicians were slowly assembling. Adama began the concert with several Serer songs. Women began dancing and invited students to join in. After a little while, a group of drummers assembled and added percussion to the musical talent already present. The crowd continued to grow as people came from all parts of the village to join in the Saturday afternoon dancing and fun. It was another clear expression of Taranga, that unique, open hearted, and generous hospitality we have experienced in Senegal since we arrived. We departed with full hearts and bellies and with deep gratitude for the many people across Senegal who continue to welcome us into their lives and homes.