Her village is beautiful. It rests on the Northern tip of Senegal, where the sun radiates without resentment. Nature is most abundant here; things obvious to the eye espouse new character in Senegal. The sun sure is courteous. Bestowed upon the people is the ability to observe the camouflage of colors – in the morning reds glare with an orange-peach glow; at the height of the day when the noon sun shines, reds are rambunctiously their brightest; however, at the hour of the moon, the red that shone with all its glory is now a calmer, more humble shade of burgundy.
I sure feel alive in her village. Her name is Agnam Goly.
Her scenery is precious. As I arrive in the appearance of the morning sun, I am stunned by her presence. I have just survived a twelve hour ride in a bush taxi and am humbled to find that my courageous left foot can still bless my brain with sensation; I could not move it for ten of these twelve hours. I take a moment to read the welcome sign “Welcome to Agnam Goly, Where the sun always shines.” At the bottom there is a small disclaimer “Except during the rainy season.” A smile is gracious enough to present itself on my long, tired face. As I lift my fatigued right arm, handkerchief enclosed in center palm, I discover with a swift wipe of my forehead that my sweat glands are now active. The temperature is overwhelming; it is January 4th here in Agnam Goly, the hottest month of the entire calendar year.
I curse myself for not taking proper time to care about what I threw on my back – I stood in black 2-inch wedged heels, a black mid-knee length bubble dress with hair adorned by a silver burette. The sun has its way with me.
Her colors could have popped out of Picasso’s imagination. The people of Agnam Goly are adorned with shades of orange, blue, red, and teal. Color choice is carefully coordinated, not by matching shades of color, but by shades that shine the brightest. A young boy strolls by, observing me from head to foot as if to say “Who does she think she is looking at my people this way.” His dark brown eyes sparkle as he watches me in my, equally brown eyes; even by this young child, I feel interrogated. He is dressed in a dark blue t-shirt with thin orange horizontal stripes across both shoulders. His shorts are a brighter shade of orange and stop mid-thigh; the left leg of his shorts is rolled up about three inches so that it stops slightly higher than the right. His hair is the prettiest shade of brown I have ever seen, and is course, similar to mine.
Her scent is natural. I smell sand. I prefer this smell, unlike others of the places I’ve visited. In Agnam Goly, there are no hotel developers obstructing nature’s scent with the high sensitivity smell of concrete; there are no lofty beaches or pools with the smell of salt water of chlorine. There is nature, as plain but beautiful as she comes. I smell clean air, obstructed very slightly by dust as the boys around me play football in the street. I smell no perfume, no colognes, no sweet, sweet smell of Jamaica. I smell natural dark beige sand.
By now I discover that my stares have provided me a celebrity audience; onlookers gather by the road side, watching my taxi as the driver slowly disappears in the distance. I smile at them all, and even though I do not speak their language, the smile works better than any words. As I create my friendly demeanor, a young girl returns my smile. I am pleased with her effort, and I plan to talk to her should we meet again.
I am meeting with a hosting family here in Agnam Goly. My three week visit will find my residency at 3333 Kindergarlie. My eyes scan for their address as my heels penetrate the sand. The roads are unpaved. The unpaved roads are celebrated by the young children as they are able to play football without serious risk of injury. The mothers are satisfied by this fact. The houses in the village are meager accommodations; many are made from bamboo wood with little attention given to vanity. To shelter them from the sometimes over-bearing sun, sheets of colored cotton are used to provide adequate roofing. As I walk through a narrow but sun-lit alley way, I am hit with a taste of the West. It is a large, well built, concrete home. The house is painted in the most discreet shade of white, ecru. This is 3333 Kindergarlie.