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Senegal 2024



The village of Toubab Dialao perches on the Atlantic coast just south of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. Tourism is growing here, but small-scale fishing remains the dominant livelihood and these pirogues, or canoe-like fishing boats, dot the coastline. The hand-carved vessels are pieces of functional art—named and brightly painted at the owner’s direction. Each pirogue is so heavy that it takes a team pulling together to safely bring it ashore. In Wolof, the language of Senegal’s largest ethnic group, sunu gaal means ‘our pirogue.’ It is a commonly accepted moniker for the country, illustrating the importance of these fishing boats.

Debra Schweitzer © 2020
PCV Mali 1993–1996
Small Enterprise Development

République du Sénégal

Western Africa

Area 76K mi2; 197K km2

Arable 17%

Population 18.4M (242/mi²; 939/km²)

Gov’t Presidential republic

Capital Dakar (3.4M)

GCP/Capita $3,500

Unemployment 4%

In Poverty 47%

Infant Mortality 32/1K live births (47th)

Life expectancy 70 yrs

Median Age 19 yrs

Literacy 52%

Languages French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke

Religions Muslim 97% (predominantly Sufi), Christian 3% (mostly Roman Catholic)

Health 5% of GDP

Education 6% of GDP (59th)

Military 2% of GDP (84th)

Labor Force Agriculture 77%, industry 23%, services 23%

PCVs 1963–present CURRENT: Yes, TTD: 4,280

Adult Books

So Long a Letter
By Mariama Bâ. Translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas.

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Heinemann (1981; 1st French-language edition: 1979); Waveland Press (2012)
ISBN-10: 1803289120, 0435905554
ISBN-13: 978-1803289120

This brief novel is widely regarded as a classic work of African women’s literature. In the form of a long, intimate, journal-like letter, it addresses some of the challenges facing 20th-century Senegalese society: religious and patriarchal traditions at odds with modern life and everyday injustices and cruelty underpinned by unquestioned customs of polygamy and caste. In seclusion while observing the long ritual mourning period for the husband who betrayed her, a newly widowed teacher and mother writes to a close childhood friend, vividly reminiscing and—with a clear eye while she gives voice to both grief and anger-- comparing their life choices, marital troubles, crushing disappointments, and hopes for a better future.

"…the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction" (Abiola Irele, Journal of African and Comparative Literature)

Winner of the 1980 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa

Kids' Books

Xavier the Prince : Step into Africa)
By Aminata Traoré, illus Shaheed Smith

Format: HC, 38 pp
ISBN-10: 1684012686
ISBN-13: 978-1-68401-268-8
Age Range: 4–8 yrs / Grades Preschool–3
Publisher: Mascot Books (May 1, 2018)

Xavier is taking a trip to Africa, but he must accomplish a few tasks before he leaves. Xavier is ready to meet his other grandpère and explore while learning about life in Senegal, West Africa.

About the Author:
Aminata Traoré is a cultural enthusiast who grew up in Savannah, Georgia. She currently resides in the Atlanta area with her family. She contributes to the community through her day- to-day responsibilities as a library professional. Aminata is an advocate for education, communications, and language, and loves sharing travel experiences, Aminata is passionate about promoting the inclusion of cultural diversity in libraries, schools, and bookstores.

Reader Comments

From School Library Journal:
liked everything about this book, Prince Xavier is a bright vibrant little boy who is full of curiosity and exploration. The author tells his story well. Children will love his adventures, the illustrator captures the essence of his being. Its a must have in order for your child's library to be culturally competent!

An ABSOLUTELY AMAZING book: well written and beautiful. My kids now claim it as their new favorite read and have already asked if we can read it again for story time tomorrow night. They especially love the pictures at the end.


Film: Nafi's Father
Genre: Drama
Director: Mamadou Dia
Country: Senegal
Release Date: 2019
Language: Fulah, French
Color: Color
Run Time: 1 hr 47 minutes

Two fathers are at odds over their children's marriage, but what starts as a friendly family disagreement quickly devolves into the couple becoming pawns in a bitter dispute about tradition, progress and the nature of Islam. At stake: how a small community slowly drifts towards extremism.

Trailer: 9i355j46i39j0i22i30l2j69i61j69i60.380j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF- 8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:a245bca9,vid:RYG1xGgAV98

Golden Leopard Filmmakers of the Present, Swatch First Feature Award


Thieboudienne (Senegalese Jollof Rice and Fish)
… invented by Penda Mbaye, a famous nineteenth-century cook, and consists of fresh fish, dried fish, rice and tomato-garlic-onion-chilli puree, all served with many vegetables like pumpkin, cassava, eggplant and carrot

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