Fact: you will never go hungry when eating with a family in Senegal.
I don't know how many times I have been asked, "tu ne mange pas?" (you are not eating?) This comes from the Senegalese value of Teranga which loosely means hospitality in wolof. The Senegalese are well known for their hospitality and are always afraid of guests going away hungry.
This photo is one of us eating around the bowl in a traditional Senegalese manner. When eating around the bowl, it is generally you sitting on a mat without shoes eating from a large dish with several other people. You make a ball with the rice and eat it using your right hand (easier said than done). This is one of the first things that ACI/ Baobab Center teaches when you get there since it is so widely done. Host families generally eat around the bowl a meal of ceebu-jën ( a rice dish with fish and vegetables) at lunch, though being in an urban setting creates a little diversity in the manner of eating. For example, my host family eats at a low lying table with chairs and spoons- though my host mom generally eats on a mat in a separate room with her hands in a more traditional manner. Some of the students at the center have said that they eat with spoons but on the ground on a mat.
By: Kathleen Greaver