Women's Basketball Blog From Overseas - Day 7
Day 7 Video
Day 7 (September 8)
We spent the first part of our day learning about and exploring the village of Joal-Fadiouth. Joal lies on the mainland and Fadiouth is the island linked by a bridge. Fadiouth is built entirely on seashells. We were told if you dig six meters you will still continue to find seashells. The town had the first Muslim and Catholic cemetery with people of both faiths buried together, taboo in many areas in the past and even today. And Senegal's first president Léopold Sédar Senghor was born in the village.
Senegal is about 85 percent Muslim, 15 percent Catholic. Senegal's president is Catholic and was born in Joal-Fadiouth. When the Senegalese are asked how a largely Muslim population can have a Catholic president they don't understand why it would be problem because they respect each other's religions.
A men's basketball team of men roughly about the same age as us met us in Joal and would spend the afternoon with us in the village. We took off in five different traditional Senegalese boats, carved out of wood. There was so uncertainty at first but some of the basketball players told us it would be okay, that the water is not very deep and the boats are good boats. We headed out into the inlet - which our guides called the water arm. We visited the graneries that were used to store food in the dry season, but they no longer use and then took the boats to another island made of seashells, which is the cemetery. We took a bridge over to Fadiouth and in the center of town had a chance to bargain with the local merchants/street vendors for hand carved wooden figurines, jewelry and musical instruments.
The village didn't have many shaded areas so we were all very hot or tres chaud as our guides kept saying as they fanned their faces. We walked the bridge backed to Joal and said goodbye to our new friends. The coach of the team called our tour guide Ouseman on our way back to Saly and said the team was so grateful that we spent the afternoon with them. They enjoyed seeing us, American college basketball players, interact with each other and in the community. Once again another example of our gracious the people of Senegal are.
After lunch we went back to the hotel for some free time and around 5 p.m., went to the fisherman's market. We returned to the hotel at 7:30 p.m. and had the rest of the night to ourselves at the hotel.
Q&A with senior Devona Allgood
What was the best part of the day at Joal-Fadiouth?
Being in the boat, the traditional wooden Senegalese boat. I never imagined I'd be on one.
What'd you bargain for in the village and how?
I bought a present for someone with the help of the male basketball players because they spoke the language. The vendors gave a price and I tried to do a quarter of the price but I'm too nice so I ended up paying half.
What was your favorite part of yesterday's safari?
Being right next to the giraffe. It was the closest I've ever been to a wild animal.
What'd you think of the basketball clinic in Mbour?
I loved the welcome, it was my favorite part. The kids are very interested in interacting with us. They are a very social country and very welcoming. I like their hospitality.
What is your impression of the people in Senegal?
The people are very nice. Its a big deal to be seen as one family, not be divided by social classes. I think that's what keeps them happy and probably why they are so welcoming to us.