These past three days I’ve spent in Bodo Sabé an art resort located in Toubab Diallo and it was absolutely amazing. It won’t be anything like what someone from the US might think when they hear the word “resort” but a Senegalese person would consider it luxury. The hotel is located by the fishing village so there are tons of boats on one section of the shore. The beach is absolutely beautiful and reminds me why I dislike NY beaches so much.
The art resort was full of so much culture everywhere you turned, it was amazing. Unfortunately I’ll have to post pictures individually so please bare with me and the wifi out here. I was able to participate in 3 different art classes. One was a Batiki class, it is an art form where you draw an image and use wax and dye to create the design you want on fabric, this was definitely my favorite. We also had a drumming class, the sound of the group was beautiful but it did hurt my hands quite a bit. It was interesting to see the drummers play all day and for all performances with such ease no matter how hard they were hitting the drums with their hands. One of the drummers mentioned how accustomed they were to playing it’s like their hands were numb to it. The final class was a Senegalese dancing class for an hour. The instructor had moves like I’ve never seen. The dance for myself was definitely a lot of trial and error but I wasn’t the only one and the teacher had lots of patience, thankfully. The last time I went also happened to be the time I made the least amount of mistakes which felt great. During all of these classes it was amazing to see people who were able to work doing art forms they love and teaching them to others.
To give a little history: the resort was built by a Hatian born man who was a painter, sculptor, etc. in the 1970s. His goal was to give back to the community and promote education in the area by educating in the traditional arts based on natural resources. It is safe to say his goal has successfully been met and the community truly benefits from the hotel and tourism it has brought to the area. First off, it allows those working with the art forms to be employed in doing something they love; I spoke a little to the man who helped us make Batikis and he informed me he made all the curtains and sheets in the rooms (I should’ve photographed that too, they were beautiful). Vendors also heavily benefit from the tourism because foreigners are their best customers. At this point in time the hotel of the arts is the towns biggest source of income for all the ones that live in and around it.
Sobo Badé is located right by the beach front so I was able to spend a lot of my time there, the water and waves were great (again a reminder why I hate how dirty NY beaches are). I’m still intrigued by the fact that there are no trash cans in Senegal and so much trash on the grounds but the beach was extremely clean, both the water and the sand. On Monday and today we had our meal by the beach, relaxing and delicious food. The night life was very interesting, the area is majority baayfalls (pronounced bi-falls), a Muslim group I will write a more in depth post about later on and I spent both nights at a Reggae club with them. For the most part they were both great nights and I met some great dancers. Turns out Senegalese men are also great Salsa dancers 🙃. Our dancing instructor also happened to be at the club the 2nd night and Djibril (the program coordinator’s husband and a Senegalese man) informed us that there would be no one there if we weren’t all visiting.
I wish this blog post could really describe how rich with culture this experience was but I hope at least the photographs to come help illustrate it.
My wifi in Toubab Diallo was terrible and when I got home my wifi wasn’t so great either so although I wasn’t able to post this blog then I was there from January 3rd-5th.