Thank God for orange Schweppes and pocket size tissue. The ride from Dakar to Matam took about 12 hours (I’m winging it, i have no idea how long that ride took lol) , not including a stop-over in Saint Louis but it was soooo worth it. The scenery was so gorgeous and it was nice to leave the hustle and bustle of Dakar.
There wasn’t much to see on the road, mainly villages and herders managing their cattle and sheep and of course mouth watering xal (watermelon).
Thanks to the twenty pieces of xal that I devoured and my ever so unreliable weak bladder, we were able to stop about 30 times, much to the dismay of my colleagues. Sometimes we had to pay 50 cfa to use the bathroom…and it wasn’t even that clean! I’m not even a siddity traveler but they could have at least given me some toilet tissue for the 50 cfa..do you know what I can do with 50 cfa?? Cafe touba, kinkelaba, peanuts, half a trip on the car rapid, shall I continue ?
Anyway, other than that, there was absolutely no traffic or any other hardships. The road was ok I guess, but I was in a 4×4 so I can’t be certain for those traveling in 7 places or regular cars.
Now back to the people.
It was interesting because after living in Dakar, I had silently decided that everyone spoke Wolof (even though history books and Senegal guides always tell you that’s no true). In Matam, or the Fota Toura region the biggest ethnic group are the Hal-Pulaars, or Toukelours and they speak Peulh. They have such a rich history and culture and they are very proud. Unfortunately , I was unable to make many friends because my Puelh is worse than my Wolof 🙁
But I was able to learn a few words and I’ve decided to pass them on to you!
Jaarama—Means hello, & is also used to say thank you
Jam tun— Peace only
Another interesting thing about the Hal-Pulaars is that they are located all across Africa, sometimes under different names but they all speak a form of Peulh. They can be found in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, and many more countries. I personally admire how much they value their culture and language. Some Pulaars have a beautiful scar given to them at birth that shows their ethnic group. Its two small marks by the eyes and personally, I think it enhances their beauty!