Thanksgiving Without the Turkey

Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 15, 2006

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Senegal  ,
Thursday, November 23, 2006

The days leading up to Thanksgiving were very hard to get through. I'm doing a research project that I'm not too confident about, my friends in Senegal are all spread out over the country doing their own research projects, and all of my family and friends were spending time together catching up at home during their Thanksgiving breaks. My roommate, Rachel, and I decided that we were not only going to take the day off, but we were also going to try to cook something for our family. I wanted to cook a nice, fresh chicken but alas, Rachel is a vegetarian. Then we thought that perhaps we could just make an apple pie, but then we realized that making a pie requires an oven, something that few people have in Senegal. We settled on making a sweet potato dish with marshmallows only to find out once we got to the store that there were no sweet potatoes OR marshmallows.

Thanksgiving day started off wonderfully when Rachel and I woke up early, went for a run while it was still cool out, and then walked to the beach in the late morning sun. The water was cool and inviting, despite the bomb that had just been dropped in the water less than 50 feet off of the shoreline to kill fish. The sun was bright and the sky was cloudless, so Rachel and I both developed rather painful sunburns. The two of us laid on the beach for almost three hours just relaxing, watching the waves splash up against the cliffs, and reading our books (I'm now on my ninth book in Senegal). We walked back to our house, had lunch with our family, and took a taxi to one of the largest markets in Dakar, Marche HLM, to buy fabric to give to our tailor. We stayed at the market for hours, hiding from the hot sun and trying to avoid marriage proposals and awkward conversations about American politics. My foot was run over by a taxi while I was bargaining with a gold jewelry merchant because the market aisles are too small for taxis to fit through. I'm not sure why the taxi drivers even try, and I know that I was not the only one who had a black-lined foot at the end of the day.

The grocery store was the next stop, and as it is one of my favorite places in Dakar, I was disappointed that we spent less than an hour gathering ingredients to make pasta primavera for our family and neighbors. After our shopping excursions, we finally got back to our house after dark at about 8pm to start our Thanksgiving feast preparation. My wonderful Aunt Claire sent me Thanksgiving decorations, and they went excellent with our tablecloth laid out on the floor. The pasta primavera was extremely expensive as quality peas, carrots, and other vegetables are hard to come by, but it was an excellent meal nonetheless! My brothers invited their friends over, and over ten of us took part in the American holiday feast that no Senegalese present could really understand.

Finally, we met up with some other Americans to listen to some live Senegalese music at a restaurant called Just 4 U. It wasn't exactly American football or the traditional movie night with my parents, but it was still great to swap stories with other Americans (a journalist, law student, and embassy employee) about past Thanksgivings and our hopes for Thanksgivings to come. There is truly MUCH to be thankful for being an American, especially an American who has had the opportunity to spend time in a country with less than we are used to.
Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: