It was a difficult and hot day on the farm. We were up at 6:00am and started sweating immediately.
Later in the day, I drove the truck in Kebemer and got reprimanded by the head of the police for taking a video.
“Give me your phone! Remove it!”
The police man was dressed in a shiny, cut suit and driving a newer Toyota. He did not want to smile, but gave me a sparkle in his eye when he said that I could go and keep the video.
By the time we were leaving Kebemer, the sun had gone down, and the air up on the ridge on the North side of the farm was cool and the breeze was blowing off the ocean. As we walked to the truck, I offered the keys to the driver, but he wanted me to drive. So I drove from the farm to Lompoul on the ocean.
Past the goat that had been run over.
Past the village of Lompoul with the remnants of the market strewn on the sides of the road.
Past the plastic trash fields, and onto the beach.
I put the truck in 4-wheel drive and pushed the mile through the sand (or “suf,” in Wolof, the native language of Senegal).
My goal was to drive the whole way and up the hill into the hotel. Most drivers get stuck in the loose sand that has been untouched by the waves, but I kept it in 1st gear and the momentum going and made it through the posts and into the hotel. Chek, Tapha’s brother, was there to greet us.
Now he is playing Senegalese checkers with Gary as I write. They are laughing and having a good time in the dim light of the cabana. I can hear the surf and a slight breeze is blowing the mosquitoes away. I’m drinking a San Pellegrino and we are snacking on Paprika Pringles.
Every bite and sip has been earned many times over today.
The second of two shipments of sustainable farming equipment has arrived in Senegal! And Our Farm In A Box Program Manager Chris Newhouse is hard at work with Gorgui Dieng of the Minnesota Timberwolves to expand access to health in the player’s home country. This journal entry is part of a series that depicts Chris’s personal experiences as MATTER and the Gorgui Dieng Foundation dig in and begin to start constructing a demonstration farm for sustainable agriculture outside of Kebemer. The project will save lives, improve community livelihood, and help build a sustainable future for Senegal.