Sunday, November 27, 2011

IFAN and Ice Cream

The IFAN Museum (Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir) is close to our apartment so we took another day during the October school break to investigate.

I've never been a fan of taking my kids to a "Museum" (look we're talking about Parker and Addison here ;+} - it has to be a kind of kids hands-on museum to capture their energy and attention). We knew the IFAN was not one of these. And in fact those kind of educational places are not to be found here. It's really a shame but it is just as it is.  Manning and I decided to give it a go to ensure we had some activity scheduled for the day. All we hoped is that they would learn and see African art and that maybe something would get absorbed. On the day we went we (our family and our French friends we met our first week here) were the only ones there. When we entered the museum it was clear it was sparse yet perhaps doable in terms of  "attention span".  

We realized it might be kind of nice to have a guide so our friend who is French asked the receptionist about that - and like most things, nothing is formal or defined here - so when you ask you have to be ready to negotiate - and thus she did.  So for 2,000 CFA (a very worthy deal) we had our own private Senegalese guide.

She took us to the 2nd floor where their they had displays showed mainly masks and musical instruments across the region from Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Benin and Nigeria,  yet sadly, not much if anything we noticed from Senegal itself.  Our tour was a good hour and this woman you could tell loved her job. While the tour was in French and I could get a fair amount of it - our French friend did supply me with some translation. Even so - our guide explained so much about the masks, the history and the fine details of how they were made and much symbolism surrounding their designs. It was actually super interesting.  The kids meandered (that would be Parker, Addison and Soizic) in and out of the tour, with Manning acting as the "herder" if they wandered down to the first floor, in order to ensure they did not reek havoc.

I never made it down to discover the 1st floor so I'm saving that for myself on another day. because it does deserve a second visit sans enfants!

After the tour concluded we knew the only way to end on a high note was to go to the best and most well known ice cream parlour in Dakar - which none of us had been too.  It's called N'Ice Cream and it was a short walk from the museum. And all I could say was we were in trouble the moment we walked in the door.

Notice the Obama ice cream - the one in the back that needs refilling. I did not try that but I think it's supposed to be milk chocolate with small vanilla crackers covered in a thin fudge layer.  Admittedly it was kind of cool to see our President (for the time being)  has a reputation over here in which an ice cream has been created with his name attached.  I'll have to try it next time - but truth is there are so many more interesting flavors first to indulge in. The funny thing is there is no "equivalent" Abdoulaye Wade choice - Senegal's current President. Not sure if that means anything but if there was a flavor for him - I wonder what the flavor would be?  There is an election in February.

Creamy, full of flavor, and OH SO YUMMY


  1. It's always great to follow your adventure! Hi to the kids! Emma

  2. Hey your kids sound just like mine. Including the museum experience and the ice-cream treat afterwards.

  3. Loved the masks and photos in the museum. Looks like a variety of tasty ice cream, but hard to get too excited about them from this end as it's 40 degrees F.

  4. Enjoyed the post, Hilary I'm glad you are interested in seeing a children's museum in Dakar. I am part of an association that is aiming to create Africa's 1st Children's Museum in Dakar and we are always looking for volunteers! : ) Please have a visit and let us know what you think about our site: