Two days ago now, after what felt like a very long rest from the bikes, we returned to the saddle and pedalled some 50 km from Saint Louis. Imran’s knee held up beautifully and after leaving the city at lunchtime we arrived in the small village of Barale Ndiaye. Unsure of where to camp we sought the advise of the village elders who invited us to stay in their compound over night.
Small and friendly the compound was a little haven from the road, Muma was the first to greet us and the only fluent French speaker in the community.
The women were busy sorting through the days picking of Bissup, a leafy flower that is harvested for two months of the year. Our visit to Senegal times perfectly with season bringing us plentiful supplies of the refreshing juice of ‘bissup rouge’ at regular roadside stops.
After pitching our tent (well actually only the inner mosquito net owing to the heat at night), we sat with the women and began our first Wolof lesson of the trip. Keen for us to learn a crowd of some 30 participating teachers grew as both of us desperately tried to keep up. The conclusion is that Mikaela now speaks more Wolof than she does French!
After a pretty intensive session we sat down to eat. We sat alone whilst the men and women ate from two separate bowls. Dinner was ‘Lah’, a dish made up of mill grain soaked in a yoghurt, it took on the consistency of a porridge with the addition of a little sand (something we have become pretty used to!).
We have also become used to bicycle laziness, that is limited maintenance as the bikes (Razzle and Dazzle as we call them) have been so good to us! But yesterday brought our first puncture, an epic and explosive injury caused by a stray nail in the road. Though sad to have broken our ‘no puncture’ record, this, the largest of our bicycle issues remains minor!
Tomorrow we will reach Dakar, the capital of Senegal and a city known for its strong music scene, and who knows, we might even have our first beer in two months!