Women's Basketball Blog From Overseas - Day 5
Note: internet access at our new hotel in Saly is not ideal and will not allow the upload of videos and photo galleries.
Day 5 (September 6)
We got about five hours of sleep before our wake up call at 5:45 a.m. We were up early to catch the ferry to Goree Island, but we soon learned nothing is as planned when it comes to time here in Sengal.
Princeton met with the US Ambassador to Senegal, a Princeton graduate, Lewis Lukens '86 and his wife Lucy '91. The took the ferry with us to Goree.
We spent the entire morning on the island. We were followed around the entire day by a skinny dog - whom the players decided to name Peaches.
Between 15 and 20,000 slaves were shipped off all over the world from Goree Island. Six thousand of them died in transit. A memorial to them is located at the top of the island. We saw one of the slave houses and learned how they were shackled 20 to a room the size of the key on a basketball court. While waiting for our ferry back we purchased some things to remind us of our trip. Some of us got tribal looking pants, some got wood carved African masks, some got lucky elephant figurines and some bought necklaces.
We had lunch next to our hotel at Lagon 2. We ate Yassa, a traditional Senegalese dish. It's a chicken and rice dish with a spicy onion sauce. We had about an hour to shower, get some rest and pack up our stuff before heading to our first game against the Senegal National Team.
In referring again to time in Senegal, the time of our game we were told was at 4:30 p.m. The Senegal team was told 5:30 p.m. We had some time to warm up in an extremely warm gym, and had quite a sweat worked up before the game started. There was one official when the game started, two more came in during the first half. The Senegal team also had three players warming up, about seven when the game started, and more showed up in the middle of game. Some went to the locker room in the middle of the second half, while the game was going on. It was something we'd never seen before.
The stadium had lots of locals who stopped by to say hello. The people of Senegal are very welcoming and most of them want to help you. Unlike in America, where children are told not to speak to strangers, and we would think something is up if a complete stranger offered to help you with your bags.
Seeing the poverty in Dakar is eye opening. We were told that more than half the population in Senegal is unemployed. Many people are selling things on the street, as their job. There are also many people milling around at night and sleeping on the streets.
We had a police escort from Dakar from to Saly and we definitely needed it. The traffic is insane and they don't exactly yield to the police, but we can't imagine not having had it. The trip was over two hours to Saly.
It was pouring rain when we arrived at Teranga Saly, our new hotel for the next four days. Unfortunately the internet situation won't allow for photo galleries and videos to be posted, so fans will have to wait until we are back in Dakar. We ate and then went to our villas, or huts as we like to call them. Many of the rooms are king sized beds, so we're becoming closer to our roommates, literally, than we imagined. It was nearly 11:30 p.m. when we got to our huts and to bed, making for an extremely long day, but one to remember.
Q&A with junior Lauren Polansky
What are your thoughts on our first day in Senegal?
I had a great time going to Goree Island. Seeing all the locals and getting a taste of their history and culture.
What was the most memorable part of Goree Island?
The Door of No Return at the slave house. When we first walked in it looked pretty and contrasted with the rest of the building. But after we heard a bit about it it became eerie. All the slaves went through there and many tried to escape once they went through the door.
What did you buy at Goree?
I bought a canvas painting and African pants, which I plan to wear tomorrow.
After playing the Senegal basketball team, compare it to the Lyon team we played in France?
Both were up-in-your-face defensive teams. Both were athletic and ran plays rather than motion.
What did you think of the crowd at the gym?
Walking out of the locker room was weird because we were the only white people in the gym. It was sad to see the kids asking for food and money on our way out. The people have a very strong community that likes to watch and support their local teams as we saw at the football stadium on next day.