Friday, August 26, 2011


5 key tasks at hand - the bank account, the apartment, the school books (from pencils, paper, dictionary, calculator, books, even a tiny dry erase board, etc..etc..),  the school uniform and the phone - we've successfully opened our bank account, purchased the school books and have a mobile phone number.  3 out of 5 ain't bad in 4 days.  A special thanks to our French family here for their assistance with the bank.  As for the apartment - it may be perhaps more of a challenge than we thought.  We looked at 4 apartments with furniture  (which also includes cooking utensils, some appliances, sheets, towels and basic items to make it work when you are only arriving with bags). These places range in both price, size and style.  We're talking a  workable apartment  - more on the rundown frumpy side - some needed touches (at least I've got a handyman in the family).  I've seen this kind in my own neighborhood in Berkeley sadly enough with landlords who don't take care of their properties (yet somehow here - it's no surprise in Dakar - while they actually try to make it a nice place to live). Then there was also the bleating goat I think we heard in the next house over - but no different than chickens in Berkeley I suppose.  On the other extreme there was the  European/American type flats - clearly geared to expats along with the price - likely because the expat companies are paying for the apartment. Not in our case. So we'd love to find something just in between super nice and frumpy ;+}  Nuances of each appartment may or may not include -  if it has a generator or not (meaning there are alot of power outages), if the building has security, if a maid/help comes in 3x a week to clean (but not cook), wifi, extra channels on the tv, air conditioning (to help combat the mosquitoes and the heat) and laundry facilities. For example -you can have that super nice apartment with all the electrical gadgets  but if there is no generator - you can't do anything! Not even e-mail after your pc runs out of juice.  Yet - ironically enough - the frumpy apartment does not need a generator because it is on the same electric grid as the President's son, Karim Wade- so apparently - no outages with electricity in this particular block. We've setup another appointment with an immbolier tomorrow - so our search continues -- but not for too much longer before a decision must be made.


  1. Good to read about your progress. I like the shirts the boys selected. I can almost imagine being there. Keep posting ... valerie

  2. Hi Hillary!
    What experience have chosen.
    I have read your entire blog.
    I admire you for take this adventure, Enjoy a lot this year. I will follow your blog:)

  3. Val and Natalia - thanks for posting your comments! They are fun to read and surely keep me motivated because as I see it with 6 days behind us - thus far - this 'adventure' is that and more in an extremely moving, conflicting, and persevering way.