May 29, 2008
SALY, Senegal -
Today was the fifth day of our African tour. We left Tunisia this morning for Senegal (a.k.a. Rama's home.) In order to get there, we had to take a 2.5-hour flight to Paris and then another 5.5-hour flight to Dakar. After the flights, we had a two-hour bus ride to our hotel. While it sounds like a nightmare day of traveling, this team can make anything funny and enjoyable.
We started early with rounds of the game "Catch Phrase" and not to brag but Trell, Dev and myself were today's champions. The plane flights included games of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Elephant Memory and Tetris, and of course lots of sleeping.
When we reached the airport, Rama's father and mother greeted us. Rama's dad ushered us through all the security at the airport, so that we could avoid all the lines. He clearly has a large influence here in Senegal. Rama looks just like her beautiful mother and has her father's body frame. It was an honor to meet them, and we can't wait to spend more time with them later this week.
Our hotel is quite different than a typical American hotel and even different from our Tunisian hotel. It is a traditional African hotel where the rooms are shaped like huts with thatched roofs. This clearly makes for a different experience than I am used to. Lexi and I are roommates on this trip, and we will make time to have each others backs and always keep an eye out for lions, tigers and bears...oh my!!! Well not really the bears but for sure the other two. My teammates will let you all know how the huts work out for us later this week.
It is exciting to see Rama in her element on her turf. In the few hours we spent here tonight, she showed her true leadership skills and was definitely more outspoken than usual. I can't wait to see more from her and her country this week.
Tomorrow's schedule includes an early wake-up (7:30 a.m. here, which is 12:30 a.m. in Berkeley. We are seven hours ahead of Pacific Time, compared to nine hours in Tunisia), so we can go on a safari. I hope the animals are out tomorrow, but I don't mind if they stay a safe distance away from our jeep at all times!!! After the safari, we have some down time at the hotel and then a trip to a local school/orphanage to visit with the children. Each day brings new adventures and tomorrow seems no different.