Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trunk or Treat

On Saturday, Oct 29th, we learned out how other American expatriates or those connected with the Embassy community celebrate a twist on Halloween in Senegal. "Trunk or Treat".  The US Embassy  owns more than a patch of grass called "Ebbets Field" where mainly baseball and other sport activities are played.  It's the kind of grass and space you wish every Senegalese could enjoy! It's  guarded and has either a combination of metal or concrete wall wrapping around the entire perimeter of the grounds (with I think even a bit of barbed wire on the top) that also includes a play structure (yes the kind of play structure  we know back in Berkeley) and a blacktop area where tables and chairs can be put out for food concessions.  Even bleachers if I remember since I was told softball is played there.  I think I've mentioned before a family that has been very generous in reaching out to us during our short time here - invited us to this one. This was not a just show up and get in event. You had to have bought your tickets in advance.

Just to back track a bit - how did we meet this family - on a whim a long time back I decided to do a search on our home exchange website to see who if any people did home exchanges in Senegal.  Turns out there were 2 people, one was a family in Dakar. I e-mailed them at one point putting out the crazy idea of a one year home exchange out there to them (having seen all kinds of folks on the home exchange mention they would like that in the profile) - as it turns out the husband and wife works for USAID and therefore explained to me they were on an assignment here and it would not be possible for that length of time. Over the course of the year - we stayed in touch, and surprisingly on a home stay back in the US of 2 months in June and July their return brought them through Oakland for a funeral of all things,  so we did meet at that time. Talk about a crazy interconnection of events. Of course to their amazement  and ours we were able to inform them we were actually coming to Dakar. It's been nice that they have 2 children - a boy and girl and the boy is Addison and Parkers age.  They attend the Anglophone school - International School of Dakar - like many Embassy and Foreign Service workers who want an "American" type of education. So the few times we have met up  - it has been Parker and Addison's opportunity to get in a few hours of  English dialogue with kids their own age (and probably a nice break). This family has certainly sprinkled us with their own Teranga ("Hospitality). 

So what is "Trunk or Treat" - it's designated people who volunteered (and  are associated with the US Embassy) to be a "Trunker" - they decorate the trunks of their cars in a frightfully delightful way and of course give out candy to all those ghosts and goblins.

Ashley, Daniel, Parker and Addison

It turned out to be a delightful evening that included meeting more interesting families, learning what they do here in a variety of capacities in Senegal (be it with USAID, The Embassy, Peace Corp, World Bank or Unicef) and how long they've been and to  which country next, as well  as us sharing our story of how we ourselves landed here. Somewhere along the way myself and Daniel managed to win some scrumptious baked goods in the Halloween Cake walk.

Parker wasting no time in helping Daniel eat his prize
The evening rounded itself out with the option to down a good cold beer or soft drink, hot dogs, french friends, chicken or shawarma  along with some wonderful African music.  The perfect way to wrap up Halloween!

The Stash!


  1. Wow, the photos look like a group of people from Berkeley celebrating Halloween. They even have the same candies you can buy at Target. Any local candies or French candies? Have you been meeting any local native people? It seems there are alot of expatriates in Dakar.


  2. I love the decorated car trunk idea... it's the zombie love child between a tailgate party and a haunted house.

    Felix and Milo miss you boys... they are keeping Grant street in good shape until you guys come back.

    Enjoy the rest of your African year,