Thursday, September 8, 2011

Le Coiffure...

Manning decided it was time for a haircut.  We haven't updated you yet on our temporary "bonne" (a post coming soon) but Manning asked her how much he should pay for a haircut and she told him 1,000 cfa or less. We're still learning our way around 'the art of bargaining' as we've been educated that everyone will always present their highest price  (especially because we are "Toubabs" - the Wolof word the Senegalese use to identify a white person but it is not derogatory - yet it is associated with people with money - and there is truth in that) and because of that you have to work your way down - mainly so with a taxi ride, vendors in the 2 large markets or street vendors - as far as the markets which we will venture to soon enough - we're just now getting our feet wet in our own little neighborhood.  So now back to the coiffure....

Who better to support than the 'independent businessman'  and I don't think you can get any more local than this guy around the corner from our apartment....

Signage up in the tree

Tools of the Trade
The 1000 cfa haircut

The final touches

While we've had fairly good success in speaking French here there are times when it does present it's difficulties and in this case we could not really carry the conversation with the coffiure very well however this is what we did learn. His name is Conokry (not sure about the spelling as he was not able to write his name down and so I was just going with the phonetics). His outdoor shop is open Monday -Saturday and closed on Sundays. He was from  Guinea and has been cutting hair on Rue Mohamed V for 8 years. Apparently Manning was the 2nd American's hair he had ever cut.  I asked him when he closes his shop does he take his tools and umbrella with him and he said no. He hires someone to watch his stand every night. Hiring a "gardienne" is very common here. Oh yeah, and finally that 1,000 cfa haircut which Manning opted to not bargain down = $2.

p.s.  After I wrote this but before I posted we shared the photos with the "bonne" and we had a very interesting discussion about his "shop". She considered him more "clandestine" because he is from Guinea and doing the hair cutting on the street. Also she shared that there are many Guineans unemployed in their own country so they come to Senegal for work. Yet she also said everyone is a person and they need to do what they can to live.


  1. Great pictures to accompany the story. No close up of the haircut, but the hair cutter seems to be well equipped and trained. Next customer, you Hilary?


  2. Brigitte - I've only ever seen men in his chair in the few days we're now in the neighborhood. I had a great discussion (in French) with two men sitting on a bench next to his 'space' - they told me jokingly woman go to "la salon" - which would be indoors ;+}

  3. Stephen would be so jealous of this! Some of my fondest travel memories have involved getting a haircut from a true local. Très chic Manning!\


  4. Thanks for sharing your experience! It's truly inspiring!
    Take care and we are all following you in our family.

  5. I need that haircut as well , contact address please. I live here in Dakar .

    1. Wow. I just checked my blog which I rarely do these days. It's on the corner of Felix Faure and Mohamed V. Where do you live? We are no longer there sadly.

  6. I live in Parcells and here is my mobile number 707399604, you can add me up on whatsapp. I need a splendid haircut this weekend and i don't mind the taxi transport fare to your office. Thank you.