Day 3 – 28/12/12

Slept in and had breakfast at lunch time. Happy sigh. Breakfast here is simple; a typical Senegalese baguette with a range of fresh jams. They range from Papaya , Grapefruit, Banana, Berry and more… I have my bag of tuck and hence will be fine. My dear granny made sure that I have enough to eat when she heard that I was going to be in Africa for a month.

tasty nuts and other yummy Indian snacks

I don’t much care for the coffee here but I do enjoy this tea-like drink whose name I’m yet to find out. I will do so in due course.

Our dining area:

Where we ate, danced, talked and smiled

I took a little tour of Les Belles Etoilles. It is a beautiful resort that is tucked away from the village so one can have enough privacy. Especially since international celebrities such as Mamady and Seckou are staying, security is a matter of consideration.

These were our quarters:

Our Home Away From Home

We had a little sit-out outside our room (that would be shared by our neighbours as well):

Our little Patio

From a closer view:

afternoon chilling – reading – philosophizing area

This was our room for the next 3 weeks:

one of the beautiful carvings that one can find on all the doors at Les Belles Etoiles

And the bar: (Matar’s den – Matar will get a special introduction in due course)


Tannis and I thought it might be good to have a SIM card and so we set out for our first walk in Abene village. The village is a long road! One side is the beach and the other is the town centre.

The village, similar to most villages in West Africa I’ve heard, have very ‘friendly’ people. Now I know this kind of curiosity that comes up with having foreigners around. It is similar in India. The difference is that the people in Abene are far more persistent. They will all come up to you and ask you to ‘feel welcome’, ‘live free’, ‘live as one’, and as cute as it is in the beginning, one can pretty much predict what the next stranger who walks up to you is going to say… Senegal is a Muslim country. But Abene feels like little Jamaica. Bob Marley is a local hero here.

It was prayer time when we set out for our sim card quest and hence nothing got done but the walk was worth it. We made a mental note to go visit ‘the Big Tree’ which was a great tourist attraction and Abene’s claim to tourist fame.

We returned to our rooms and retired after lunch to wake up to the sound of djembe playing by a Drum Group. This was odd considering none of the other participants were here. I figured that Malo Sonko (our drum maker / provider / dununfola for the workshop) would’ve arrived. He had. I quickly went over and chose my drum and bought it with a lovely bag. Once again, one of you lucky drummers back home will have a beautiful hand carved drum from Abene.

my drum for the workshop (Bambara shell)

The rest of the participants arrived late that evening after sundown. By now I could’ve only imagined the trouble / problems they could’ve had on the way here. I said hi and introduced myself to some but not all of those who arrived that day. Little did I know on that day that I’d get along so well with each and every one of them. This was the group of people that would be family for the next three weeks.These are people I would drum with, learn from, help, laugh with, play with, celebrate with and build deep connections with and also have a Djembe Drum Circle with. Such is the power of the Djembe.

It is always lovely to meet to people at a Mamady drum workshop. This time it was my chance to meet the drum community of the UK. They’re all a lovely bunch of happy people. I will get to know them better in the days to come.

Come. Drum. Be One.

Taal Inc.