Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yékini vs. Balla Gaye 2 and then it was over!

Yekini, left (sadly cut off his name on the photo) and Balla Gaye 2 Billboard

Manning mentions to us we have a chance to go to the Yékini  and Balla Gaye 2 lutte match - a form of wrestling Senegalese style.  Lutte is a major spectator, national sport and cultural event all rolled up in one. So what is it exactly?  from Wikipedia - "Two fighters compete in a circular ring, in more formal events bound by sand bags. Each fighter attempts to eject the other from the ring, though they can win by knocking the other off their feet or onto all fours."  There are various forms of this wrestling - and the style we were watching was a mixture of boxing and wrestling. 
How did we find ourselves at this intersection of our journey - Manning and I both workout at a place called Gymnasium and over the course of the last 7 months have gotten to know either the security guards who work outside of the gym, others who are friends with the security guards that wash cars, as well as the handful of trainers who assist in the 'musculation' room. While I've never noticed - Manning has told me many times that Yekeni works out in the weight room.  In particular with a trainer named - Moussa.  Now as I mention there is one particular guy Boubacar that Manning has befriended. Sadly he's a very smart guy, who had to drop out of the university because he ran out money,  but is at the moment selling phone cards and washing cars. But because he's educated in French and English  Manning negotiated a schedule to take 'French conversation' lessons from him. So putting 2+2 together - because of  these connections we've made an invitation was extended to us to join Boubacar and Moussa and others to the match. And as it turns out Moussa was part of the 'entourage' to help Yekini i prepare.

Now of course  days prior to this match we we received an e-mail from the US Embassy - with the following message.


April 20, 2012

This message is to inform U.S. citizens in Senegal that the Embassy’s Regional Security Office has strongly advised U.S. official personnel not to attend the Yekeni and Balla Gaye wrestling match on April 22, at Demba Diop Stadium in Dakar because of the strong likelihood for violence to occur between rival fans and groups supporting the wrestlers.

Wrestling matches in the past have been marred by rowdy fans throwing items and being disruptive, resulting in injury to other spectators.  Violence between rival fans often spills over and adversely affects those not involved.  Additionally, depending on the outcome of the match, supporters may take to the streets in support of their favorite wrestler, with the potential for vandalism and demonstrations.  It is recommended that the area around Stadium Demba Diop be avoided starting at 1600, as pedestrian foot traffic will be heavy ahead of the match.  If streets around the stadium are blocked by demonstrations, it further impacts the ability for by-passers to leave an area where violence is occurring.  As with past demonstrations, disruptions may spread to other areas of the city as well.

The focus is on official US personnel but it's message is sent out to all US citizens who are registered with the Embassy.  My first thoughts are about back home - "Raider Nation" fans at Oakland football games. Or the the two drunk guys we saw with bloodied up faces and already handcuffed outside the bar on the 2nd level of the Oakland Athletic baseball stadium at the last game we went to as a family (not trying to knock Oakland) - just pointing out facts. Could it be worse?

So we meet up with Boubacar,  Moussa and others and head in our own taxi with Boubacar.  One member of the group looked like he was about 17 kept repeating to us it's "dangereux, dangereux."  And Addison looked at me and said "if it's so dangerous, why is he going."  Good point!

Observations  on arrival - my god there were throngs of people  (an exponential multitude of assembled persons and more!!). This stadium is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood.  On one level it seemed orderly and the police were doing their job. It was clear how they had separated people with tickets from everyone else.  But the distance separating the people was not more than a one and a half lane street from where we stood.

There were people behind barricades, police, police on horses and people with tickets in line, and vendors - walking by selling water, peanuts, candy, t-shirts and all kinds of picture souvenirs.  We opted to pass on it all. Did not want to wave any money around no matter how small the bills or coins were.  We had 3 tickets in hand purchased previously but still needed to buy 2 more.  Manning tells us stand in line and don't move.  He and Boubacar go off somewhere to get the other 2 tickets.  Per Manning - "it was a bit unclear to both Boubacar and me as to where exactly we were supposed to be able to buy additional tickets.  After a few inquires to the police, they indicated a place near a barricade.  It was literally a small hole in wall - about this size of your head.  Boubacar showed them the tickets we had and asked for three more like that.  I produced the money and a hand produced the tickets and we were done.  There's no way I would ever have figured that out! "

Standing in line was actually quite civilized yet it was a bit hot since there was not a lick of shade.

While the 3 of us were alone in line this nice guy behind us kept helping us when the line was on occasion getting diverted onto the street and police on horses were trying to keep the line as much upon the 'sidewalk'.  Mainly to keep the road clear I guess.  And yes sadly the litter you see in front is a common sight.  Anyway he was nice about making sure we didn't loose our spots.

Manning and Boubacar return with the extra tickets purchased. Phew!

As all 5 of us are now in line with our tickets we reach a point where the security is now separating out this one very long line into two - all of a sudden as we were moving to the 2nd line the security/police were singling us out - woman/children up to the front. I honestly was a bit confused and didn't know what was happening.  As my son Addison pointed out "Mom, we don't look Senegalese". So is that why we are being herded away?  No question I was a bit nervous as they were directing us away from Manning and our friend. And at that moment too I realized we had no identification with us - we just forgot.  I then said that I couldn't leave without my husband. And I think they then realized he was with us. They asked to see our tickets and we then were all escorted to the front minus our friend.  Honestly it was a bit awkward and confusing since for a moment I didn't know if this was for real or some scam - despite their professional appearance.  There were two 'frisking' areas - one before the gate - frisking and checking bags.  As other Senegalese saw us being brought to the front it did feel quite awkward.  We asked for no special privilege and only wanted to fairly stand in line like the rest of the people.  Perhaps there were some policies to get 'etrangers' into the stadium rather than being on the outside? We'll never know.  After the first checkpoint there was another post entry - gendarmes with rifles.  I took out my camera thinking they would frisk me but Manning pointed out this is a Muslim country - in fact maybe no woman were frisked.  In the end I was not. 

 We were in by 3:30.  And settled into our concrete seats.

Admittedly still a bit bedazzled by the entry experience and all that I saw - I did look around to survey an exit strategy - and the best strategy was not to go anywhere if anything happened.

To our right was the entry/exit door  we came through but it was not bigger  than a normal doorway - so if any pandemonium should have occurred we were best to not approach the doorway.  After that I started to relax and realized our area was quite tame and the "Yékini  Nation" and "Balla Gaye 2 Nation" were on the other side stadium - filled to capacity!.  And as you can see a very serious separation of seating space with police carefully placed between them.

According to Manning there were 3 price seating's - VIP, but don't know where that was, covered and sun exposed. Thank goodness we were in the covered section.
We were on the last to the highest row and there were 3 gendarmes behind us - and I did ask them if they were going to sit behind us the whole time - oui!  During the match we offered some orange slices we had and some cashews we were eating. They politely declined but later on when they bought peanuts they gave them to us and the kids gladly said - oui.  And before we knew it, diplomatic relations had begun.

Turns out the Head of  Sainte Jeanne d'Arc - Parker and Addison's school was sitting a few rows ahead. Manning and I had both met him previously so we just politely nodded and smiled.

So what goes on a a lutte match for 3 1/2 hours? - that was the time we were there and the stadium was already pretty full so I have no idea what else was going on earlier in the day.   

Here's an attempt to describe what we took in ------ There was a lot drumming.  And I mean a lot!  These were just two of the three drumming circles going.

And me realizing - this will not be good for my tinnitus (ringing in the ear condition) - and having left my ear-plugs back at the apartment it was time to improvise. And fortunately Manning had some tissue in his pocket. Tissue never makes up for real earplugs but it comes in a close second in situations like this.

Along with the drumming, there was someone announcing (in Wolof, I believe) and someone "singing" (let's just say it wasn't Ismael Lo who we saw a few weeks ago at the French Institut) and dancing  all at the same time.

Add to that tooting whistles, horn blowing by fans  (and in unison it reminded me of the sound (but exponential) of San Francisco cable car cables running) on the opposite side of the stadium and a guy with a lot of gri-gri/ju.  [Don't know gri-gri - read my last blog post here.]

Gri Gri Guy
As far as the 'star' wrestlers were concerned each was surrounded by his 'entourage' and cameramen and they would just goad the crowd as they walked from area to area in the stadium. At various points before the match, each luttier went to the other side's section, with the police in a line with riot shields - we could see things being thrown at them and at first we were not sure what it was. Then Addison said it was the water that is sold in small pouches to drink. Glad it wasn't anything more than a "water balloon"!

Balla Gaye 2

While this 'goading' was going on other wrestlers were preparing for their matches. We watched this wrestler pour liquid on himself.

unknown wrestler
And on occasion Parker and Addison found entertainment elsewhere.

At the same time there were three other "smaller" matches taking place. 

Oh and before I forget - Soda, Peanuts and Popcorn!

Funny how having just explained all of what I saw without knowing what the heck was going on - I found this on the web by Beatrix Jourdan!!

Lutte is as much a spiritual activity as it is physical and wrestlers engage in various rites and rituals before fighting. No wrestler, regardless of strength, physical or technical abilities, will ever dare to enter the ring, much less fight, without his "marabout" or JuJu Man, or without participating in his own pre-match ceremony. During the ceremony, the wrestler, accompanied by drummers and singers, dances around the arena.  Around his arms, legs, and waist are various kinds of juju or amulets , supposed to protect him against evil spirits and the witchcraft of other fighters. It is this aspect of the sport which elevates a wrestling match beyond the level of ordinary spectator sport. Many people attend as much for the enjoyment of the ceremony as for the sport. 

Every piece is supposed to have special magical powers to help the wrestler win. The Marabu puts them on the wrestler whilst whispering "prayers" to help get the wrestler into the "proper condition". They wear them in the prefight ceremony then take most off, keeping just a few when the fight starts.

Besides amulets, the wrestlers use the "magic liquid" - a mixture of water and "magic" powder prepared by the Marabu, using his own special recipe. The wrestlers pour it on themselves before the fight.

So finally after three hours it's just about time for "le grand combat."  The opponents are getting ready and everyone stands up for the Senegalese national anthem.

Yekini and Balla Gaye 2 getting ready


Before you say it - I KNOW I KNOW - I was taping the match and at one point everyone stood up thinking that Yékini  might have won but then it wasn't the case - everyone sat down then in what seemed like a split second  'it was over' (the part that did not get taped) - I don't think anyone could have believed it and  thought the match would continue. A turn, a twist and Yékini  was now down and  Balla Gaye 2 was declared the winner, ending a reign of  that spanned almost two decades. It was that fast!

The crowd (whoever wanted Balla to win) erupted with delight. And people started leaving to begin the celebration.  We waited about 10 minutes to leave waiting for the crowd to thin out inside the stadium also knowing it was going to swell outside.

Surprisingly, it was relatively calm as we exited onto the streets -  celebratory car honking and people waving out the windows.  Apparently the winner would be escorted by his fans to his town - a suburb of Dakar - Guediawaye.  We moved out and away from the crowd and caught a cab home.  Wow, what a day!

 Following day's headlines

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Here's how it went...

From: Hilary Goldman 
To: Manning Sutton 
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 11:26 AM

Did the Mboro school give me some kind of 'admin' access to their blog? I can see it in my list now not just as a 'viewer' but someone who can post, edit, change, and delete their blog posts. Saw a nice one about you!!
From: Manning Sutton 
To: Hilary Goldman 
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 11:32 AM
Subject: Re: Bizaare

Yes, they did !  Pierre thought I might want to blog about things here (english) and it would provide some good color, exposure, etc.

Got the server installed and it boots!  Success!!!!  However, can't quite figure out how to configure it.  The current doc is different than the older server version and I'm not current on my linux skills - like executing commands?  

Anyway, progress.  Quite happy
So there's the cliff notes version of alot of work that has gone on in the last 4 months by Manning. And yes he owes this blog his version of events. I ended up clicking on the link of the blog and saw it's last entry from yesterday - "Hey - that's Manning!". I'm very proud of Manning's tenacity to turn things around for this school and they certainly are too by mention in their blog.  So read below and click on their blog link to leave a comment in English, French, or Wolof! - they would love it.  http://ecolenotredamemboro.blogspot.com/2012/04/probleme-informatique.html

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Nous avons bénéficié d'un programme avec OLPC(one laptop per child :un enfant un ordinateur) en 2009,d'ordinateurs XO,qui a très bien fonctionné au début avec un engouement indescriptible de la part des enfants mais suite à des pannes(clavier, écran ,chargeur.....) nous avons eu un petit relâchement car beaucoup d'appareils sont inutilisables car absence de pièces de rechange. En cela un bénévole américain a eu l'information dans internet et étant au Sénégal pour une année il s'est proposé de donner un coup de main.Se basant à Dakar avec sa famille ,MANNING SUTTON vient une ou deux fois par mois pour nous offrir ses services : acte que nous louons. (cf photos)

Me and My Gris Gris

Time for another adventure in Dakar with Dorothy and Wendy - ladies I met through the Dakar Woman's Group. Be warned - some photos may be not so appealing to view but now that I've said that you can be ready for something different but a reality of what is part of the peoples lives here.
Dorothy - a fellow Californian (southern half) - is another kindred traveler here for a year on her own self imposed sabbatical and with no car too! Sold her house years ago and before coming here vacated her last apartment and put everything in storage. What led her here (besides some Senegalese friends she does have here) she went trekking on her own in Spain (her kids are grown and she's on her own!) along the El Camino de Santiago when she came across a restaurant called "Dakar" while on her path. That was the only message she needed.
Now, when I think of Wendy (our Rick Steves of Dakar) I think of  "Windy" the song which came to mind and the following chorus -

Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees
Who's reaching out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it's Windy

Windy/Wendy - so it's not exact but what does it matter. What matters is we're going to the "Gris Gris" market and Wendy's our guide. This market I come to find out is on a stretch of Avenue Blaise Diagne  that I pass every Friday when I'm on the bus to head to La Pouponnière.  While I thought nothing of it from the bus - not knowing what was being sold - trust me now - I am well aware of it's existence without question!!
What is "gris-gris" - it's an amulet or charm that is worn around a persons waist, neck, arms or legs. Many of the vendors in their stalls will make them and they can be a combination of leather or perhaps snake skin and in the pouch may contain powders from various sources or a verse from the Koran and you use them for protection, to ward off evil or even put a curse on someone.
When you look down the street you see little stall after stall. Each seller - that I recall as only being men - demarcated by an umbrella and a dropcloth of sorts with all his goods - amulets, sacs of powders, leaves, roots, shells and what I would describe as other "good and plenty" which I will get to in a minute. 

This man here is making his signature amulets. And they are all unique from vendor to vendor.

Each vendor displays sacs of various powders and unfortunately I was not able to communicate in this instance to understand what each powder was or what it might offer in terms of healing,  but we could identify a few on our own - the mica chips (blue sac in the foreground)

 dung of some sort in the middle yellow sac

cowerie shells (on the left) and other helpful accessories (in the middle) and yes those packets are just next to a small bowl of birds heads (on the upper right)...so this is now getting you ready for everything else dead and identifiable that we observed  - from small either alligator or crocodile heads, bird beaks, various horns, tails, claws, porcupine quills, the skins of many animals, feathers, and a variety of hooves.

Wendy inspecting the goods
Dorothy making a purchase - photo by Wendy

Now I know it may be hard to take - but that bag has a head in it of a monkey.
Despite my feelings and they are mixed about what I saw - since I have no way of knowing how any of these items are obtained and in what capacity the animal was in prior to arriving at the market - I really can't judge  -  nor do I want to - I'm in a country of a different culture - and with exuberance to observe and learn and be open -  so who's to say what is 'right' or 'wrong' - the fact is - it just *is* and the truth is I could not (and did not want to)  leave the market myself without a little protection.

Me and My Gri Gri (in my hand) - photo by Wendy

Here's a great article with more insight about the Street Scene

By Naomi Schwarz Seck
01 December 2008

Long before there were antibiotics and X-rays, African healers used traditional remedies, made from the plants, to heal people in their communities. In a downtown market in Senegal's capital, Dakar, Naomi Seck met with vendors who say they are continuing this tradition. But some Senegalese say, without the accountability of an ongoing relationship with a small community, some of these so-called healers are able to sell nothing more than a bag of tricks.

On a traffic-filled street in Senegal's capital, Dakar, cell phone covers compete for space with dried crocodile skulls, as sidewalk vendors offer to cure what ails - all for a reasonable, negotiated fee.
Ibrahima Cisse prepares a gri-gri amulet
Ibrahima Cisse prepares a gri-gri amulet
Nigerian vendor Ibrahima Cisse describes what is in his market stall.
He offers the skin of a red goat and the horn of a goat.

Cissé and his brother, Ismaillah, use these ingredients and others to make traditional West African amulets, called gri-gris.

Cisse says the goat horn is for an amulet that will protect a house from thieves and from anyone who wants to harm the family.
He says they put religious writings, like special excerpts from the Koran, in the horns. Then, the person has to bury it in the entrance-way of their home. It costs about one dollar.
This crowded street outside one of Dakar's biggest stadiums is the place for street-side traditional medicine. All along the side of the stadium, there are numerous stalls to buy gri-gris as well as natural medications.

Just past Cissé's stall, a mural is on the stadium wall.

On the mural, cartoons depict a variety of medical problems: tuberculosis, malaria, miscarriage and more.
Mohammed Sylla sells natural remedies
Mohammed Sylla sells natural remedies
Just beside the mural, Guinean Mohammed Sylla sits by a table covered with bags and jars of powder.
He says, when people are sick they look at the poster to find their sickness. Then he says he can give them the appropriate medication.
Sylla says he is constantly studying and learning about how to treat illnesses. He says he has been training as a traditional healer for about four years.
Long before there were hospitals with modern drugs and equipment, people have turned to natural remedies and traditional rituals. The World Health Organization estimates as much as a quarter of all modern drugs are made from natural ingredients that were first used by traditional healers.

But the WHO also says traditional remedies are often untested and can be ineffective or even dangerous.
Religious writings like this are sewn into amulets
Religious writings like this are sewn into amulets
Charles Katy Diouf, who works for an organization that promotes traditional healing, says in tightly-knit communities, like small villages, the healers are well-known and the results of their treatment can be seen as neighbors either get cured, or do not.
And, he says, for those healers, healing is not about making money.
"They are not healers as profession," he said. "They work the land, they are shepherds, they have to take care of the cattles, and some of them make some business elsewhere. But healing is something that comes, it's knowledge to help the community only."

But millions of Africans are moving to cities like Dakar, where they no longer have access to their village healers.
Street vendors like Sylla can fill the gap. But as traditions evolve in the big city, it seems the traditional accountability has changed as well.
Sylla says he and his teacher moved to Dakar after a few short trips showed them that the traditional healing business was more profitable here.
He says there is no way to tell by looking if someone is selling an effective cure or a fake one, just like you cannot recognize a thief until he steals from you.
International health organizations like the WHO are calling on governments to craft formal regulations for traditional healers and their treatments. Senegal is working to do just that. But for now, in many countries including Senegal, these regulations are far from complete.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Will the real Mr Gueye please stand up!

The Dakar Woman's Group handbook - when on your bookshelf it's a relief to have quick access to during emergencies - like my dental tooth problem (resolved!). Yet it's also it's own unique version of the "Lonely Planet" guide to Dakar!!

We've chosen to also use it as a way to explore the city, it's services and the people.  So mid January Manning and I opened it up to page 93 and 94 - and honed in on the section called  "Peintures Sous Verre"- Paintings under Glass. We went through the list of possible artists to visit and fell upon the last listing since it was the one most close to the apartment and we could walk there - The Gueye Brothers - 69 Avenue Blaise Diagne.

I picked up the phone and dialed - "Monsieur Gueye". I might mention that many times for me it's hard to communicate on the cell phone in French - one just because of my hearing loss, two because the French - depending on who you are speaking with - can just be hard to comprehend and three - I'm just not that good at understanding rapidly speaking French. 

After completing the call we got past 2 important points - that I mention I know "Wendy" from the Dakar Woman's Group  and that he was available at his location to meet us. I might add that Wendy (who I've had the pleasure of meeting in DWG)  is a happy go lucky lady with lots of spunk, 6 years living in Dakar under her belt with her family, long blond hair, an Ozzie accent, and wonderful smile. And while her French vocabulary is more on the minimalist side she manages extremely well with the Senegalese making friends with many vendors in some of the most out of the way, not so obvious spots in the streets of Dakar.  She was able to give me some insight before our visit especially around the history of Mr Gueye's father (Mor Gueye) as well as general pricing of the work.

Sous Verre painting is a technique of painting (in reverse on glass) that stretches back to ancient cultures - but here in Senegal it became popularized in particular by one man named Mor Gueye.  He is considered the "master" of this art form - but there are many.  Mr Gueye is a Baye Fall - a very religious order of Islam started by Amadu Bamba. A lot of  Mor Gueye's paintings during his time consisted of different scenes of Mouride life. He is over 80 years old now and apparently has really limited his painting  and has left that now up to his sons and other apprentices. 

Here is an example of one of his works I found on the web - a boy learning the holy Qur'an as an example of the more religious oriented paintings he created.

And another where  he is showing Amadu Bamba overseeing an Abrahamic sacrifice.

So this excursion is taking us on the journey of the 2nd generation of sous-verres painters. We work our way down to this place in which you really have to pay attention to the 'entrance' as it is easy to pass by - as it was the first time we came. This is the view just off the main street.

Since our first trip they have added some signage above the entryway but you still have to be a curious looker to even step inside - if you are in a hurry - you will miss it!!!

Just as we enter we notice on the wall - it says something with a name of "Gueye" and "Sous-Verre" just around the corner so we must be in the right place. 

We introduce ourselves to Mr (Mame) Gueye and let him know what a pleasure it is to meet him. He's a very amiable man.  He introduced us to his brother whose name escapes me and  who was working away along with some other apprentices in the shop.

You can somewhat see that the  image is placed on top of the glass and a thin pen is used to outline the design - ensuring as well the signature goes on first! All the painting is done on the reverse side of the glass from which it will be seen. There is a lot of thought that that goes into every detail - because what is painted on the right when turned over will be on the left. As well,  the plethora of colors are filled-in beginning with those in the front and layering from behind. And after seeing the detail of it all and the time for paint to dry between layers - we know now why Mr Gueye needs at least a month lead time if you want something that is 'not off the shelf'. 

Mr Gueye (left) with friend moving the 'drying' rack in the sun
From his 'front office' space we walk through the passage way to a 2nd space he has where he keeps much of the finished pieces that were commissioned or some on-hand inventory available for sale.  We spent over an hour not only talking about his work and life but all the infinitesimal  options of color and design of what could possibly be commissioned.  Our focus actually was a set of plates and he showed us two as examples that made us, with out a doubt, confirm our decision.  And even more so when we asked about the idea of using a photo of our family to work from.  He will do anything you want.  He actually had a sample of one - a white woman in African garb holding a kora (a stringed musical instrument). OMG - it looked awful. Not the work itself but a white woman trying to look African. No that would not do.  We decided to go with his standard African themes and well known brand look!!

Here he is showing us his 'book' of orders and he's ready to put ours in there. I'm certain there isn't a 'back up' copy of this book. As it runs through my mind from a technology standpoint - he doesn't use a computer to track anything - not that was apparent to us. It's pretty evident that Mr Gueye is doing just fine with pen and paper and he's not lacking any business.  (I do sometimes think at times how technology actually can get in the way and isn't always that helpful - yet then again I couldn't write this blog and share it with so many friends without it.)  During the time we were engrossed in Mr Gueye's story - I received a phone call that I answered but with so much background noise the call and person was incomprehensible to me. I kept saying I was sorry but could not understand. I did not recognize the number.  Maybe 30 minutes later the call came in again but this time opted not to answer it. This little tidbit is important to know.
So moving on now to to a bit of Mr (Mame) Gueye's life - his father as I explained before was quite a famous painter so as Mame Gueye explained to us  - he was not a very good student in school and spent a lot of time doodling in his notebook. In the afternoons he would help his dad and eventually dropped out.   He enjoyed painting animals and became quite good at it. Because he learned so much from his father and Mame's technique became even more refined he ultimately took a different direction which was more vibrant colors and more detailed caricature displays of African men, woman and little children in colorful clothing with long or short necks - very different from his fathers subjects. Mame then started getting his own work and commissions and this created a rift between father and son.  That has now since been repaired but it took a long time if we understood him correctly.

His incredible work can be created to be hung on the wall, made into a tray, or a box, or coasters or truly anything you can think of!  Oh yeah, he also does fish and bolts of fabric.

After some weeks  went by and I was invited to meet up with Wendy at the Art Market Courtyard to learn and see more of the beads, jewelery and African art shops that are there. And see Mr Gueye.  About this time he should be done with the plates.  Another DWG member, Dorothy, comes along too - she is on her own really neat adventure here like us - but her kids are grown and totally on their own.  We all meet up and as we go in they turn left past Mr Gueye's workshop but I take the time to pop in. I ask Mr Gueye if he is done with our plates and he has to inform me he had not started. I was a bit disappointed but also realized I did not have a hard 'deadline' yet. He tied to explain to me that since we met him and we know this to be true there were a number of manifestations in all parts of Dakar and as well in and around his neighborhood which had an affect on him doing business. He promised me  in 2 weeks on "jeudi" he would have them done.  So after I leave his shop Wendy and Dorothy are in another section of the market and they ask me where I disappeared to. I said to see "Mr Gueye" and they proceeded to ask me where I was talking about and I pointed him out - while I was talking to "Mr Gueye" they were talking to "Mr Gueye"  - the one whose number is in the DWG book that I called. YES there was yet ANOTHER Mr Gueye. So we have S Gueye and M Gueye. And they are brothers too - but I don't know if they have the same mother as I recall "our" Mr Gueye said his father had a number of wives. "Serigne Gueye's" shop is just past and slightly beyond his brother's that we came upon first. So Wendy takes me back to meet "Mr Serigne Gueye" and at that moment  it dawned on me what happened. He's the one that called me and asking where we were that morning when when we were already there and engrossed and had NO CLUE whatsoever there was more than two brothers. We never knew or saw S. Gueye the entire time the first time we were there.  In the DWG book it says "The Gueye Brothers" - that day Manning and I had thought we met them both.  So needless to say I was completely beside myself and totally caught off guard by discovering there was a third "Mr Gueye".  I'm a rather conscientious person and when I put 2+2 together I wasted no time apologizing for what happened. Making him wait and never showing up. Mr S Gueye was very polite an extremely reserve man. He shook my hand and said "c'est ne pas grave". It did make me feel better and yes, I bought some coasters from him (very similar to his brothers) to try and somewhat make up for what had happened. It did take me about 24 hours to get over being thrown for such a loop. 

So now two more weeks pass and "our" Mr Gueye calls to tell us our plates are ready.  "Jeudi" arrives and we walk to his shop and literally when we ready to walk in we get a call from the school - please come and pick up the kids toute de suite - apparently there was some new manifestation at the school - not related the presidential election - but teachers in public schools who have been striking all year and kids have not been able to attend school. With Parker and Addison's school being private, the teachers were not on strike - but they've been a target for protesters. So today was not the day to get our plates.  Two days later we finally made it back for the unveiling of our ten plates. When Mr Gueye unwrapped the newspaper - Manning and I were just in awe of what he (and his apprentices) had achieved. We were elated, euphoric, exhilarated and speechless and kept telling Mr Gueye that. My heart was literally palpitating

In thinking back about that plate with our own 'Africanesque' faces - now I couldn't imagine for one second eating off a plate with our caricature on it that looked SO wrong. So I can only say we were THRILLED with the results, knowing that we will use them with much pleasure - and be reminded of fond memories of our time in Senegal.

 Mr Gueye (of the three) please stand up!