Introduction to Senegal

We have arrived!!!!

Where do I begin? The plane ride from Washington Dulles was horrible.   The turbulence lasted for almost 20 minutes and that left me and the kids and the rest of passenger’s sick to our stomach.  Every bathroom occupied by someone who was sick.   The cabin crew wore mask and gloves while everyone was holding a puck bag.  We were so happy to get off the plane lol

Once we got off the plane we went straight to customs for our visa’s.  This process was so easy they didn’t ask for why we are here, nothing about custody or our living arrangements. They printed our bio-metric visa and place it on our passport.

Anyway after the visa we went for our bags,  BEWARE the airport staff in the yellow vest are going to ask to help you with your bags,  DON’T LET THEM.  They prey on newcomers and then hold your bags hostage till you give them money. And then ask for 10 000 cfa which is a lot for Dakar. So the moral of the story is carry and push your own bags.

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We have settled into our apartment we need a lot of decorating and furniture but we have time we mostly been at the beach lol

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Well till next post peace and love 😍

Farewell America

The first thing that I would like to say is that I love you America with all of my heart. I truly believed that we had a wonderful future together and that we would spend the rest of my life sailing your oceans and traveling your byways. I knew that life would throw some challenges into our paths, but I was sure that I would overcome the odds. I thought that we were both in it for the long haul.  It’s not you its me.  I’m leaving you for Senegal.

All jokes aside, me and the kids leave in less than 7 days in’challah.  I have packed our life in 8 check-in and 4 carry-on suitcases.  It is already real and I’m ready!  If you ask the kids if they are ready or happy to go it’s depending on how they feeling that day.  I have hopes and dreams for my kids and aspirations for them to be great and our hectic life in America was going to lead to someone if not all my kids fallen to the waste side as I struggle to keep up monthly expenses.

Keep the Ba family in your prayer as we make the journey to West Africa. Till my next post Adieu l’Amérique, et bonjour Senegal!

Traveling with kids

Traveling with kids what can I say it will be a challenge.  I’m divorced from the kids father and have custody but luckily my ex-husband is from Senegal the country we will be moving too.  We mutually agreed that it would be in the best interest of the kids to experience his home country.  He was a little worried about the kids adjusting but warmed up to the idea and agreed to the move.

In order to move I would suggest you get a certified letter from the father/mother agreeing to move the child (ren) out of the country.  Bring this letter with you and keep with your passport and visa information.  Here is more information about state requirements:  http://family-law.lawyers.com/child-custody/relocating-with-children-after-divorce.html.

Now that my kids are older they are into iPods, nooks, etc.  I would suggest getting one of these type of devices for flights longer then 5 hours because they will drive you crazy on the plane.  My flight from Washington, DC to Dakar is 7 1/2 hours and it is a night flight so they will be sleep from 9 pm (normal bedtime) till we land around 6 am in ‘challah.

5 tips for travelling with children:

Encourage them to keep a travel journal

Get your kids drawing and listing things they’ve seen and interesting foods they’ve tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try different foods. Collecting postcards from places you visit and asking them to write themselves a message on the back means they can reach adulthood with a library of memories all their own.

Brand them

If you’re going to be travelling through busy, crowded airports or transport hubs, write your child’s arm in pen if they get lost.  It sounds silly but it works.

Take your time

The greatest thing you can take – whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B – is extra time. Kids love to explore and don’t care for the time pressures of travel, so you’re more likely to all keep your cool if you cause the, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your timeframe.

Priority preference

Priority seating, this is my favorite because my children are my ticket to bypass LONG lines.  I don’t know if all the countries outside of the U.S. do this but all the ones I have traveled to in Europe and Africa give special service to: people with kids/baby, pregnant women, special needs and the elderly.   Believe me after 12 hours of traveling with your tired kids you will want to take advantage of this feature.

Rest – Flying is tiring but flying internationally can be exhausting so don’t plan much on your first day of arrival. Also, if you have a huge time difference your children may struggle sleeping, so don’t fill your whole day with activities or you may find them napping (or was he having a tantrum).

Make your whole trip a learning experience for your family. You may want to get a head start on the cultural & language experiences at home before you start your travel adventure.

A few extra tips to help keep you sane:

Arrive early. I am the queen of cutting it close for flights, but once I had children, I realized that rushing through the airport with crying kids wasn’t going to work.  Now I would rather have an hour before hand to give us time to calmly walk to our gate.

Also, if you’re traveling with another adult, give each other breaks.  Give each other a specific time so you don’t miss your flight, such as, “Why don’t you take 15 minutes and flip through a magazine or something before we board the plane? Or I will take the kids on their 20th train ride so you can rest your eyes.”

What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with kids?

Keep calm you are moving to Senegal!

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Pending “Big Move”. Just some pictures from Senegal from 2006-2010. Can you tell I’m a little excited. In’challah we have 29 days left.

 

New visa Requirements for Senegal for Americans

The new visa requirement for Senegal is quite simple.  I was able to apply for me and my 3 kids.  The website is http://www.snedai.sn/paiement/.  The documents you’ll need is your passport and travel reservation.  You will need to upload the documents to the website.  Then you pick where you want to pick up your visa from embassy or Dakar Airport.  I choose to pick up from Dakar Airport.  The fee you pay is in Euro and it comes to about $70 USD per person.  If you applying with an US bank card your bank will charge foreign transaction fee which is probably no more than 3% of the US amount.

You will get a confirmation email and you can print your visa from the email and bring print-out with you when you travel.  I will update more once I get to Senegal on how the process of picking up visa from airport work.

I am quite excited we have less than 60 days before our big move and almost everything done.  Hope everyone had a great New Years and have great things planned for 2014.  :-D

 

 

A great websites about Senegal

I found a wonderful website with great information about Senegal.  I found it very helpful.  A great read.  If your thinking of moving outside of North America my best advice would be to visit a couple of times and venture outside tourist routes. If you have children still in school visit local elementary schools and don’t be afraid to ask expat’s how they like living in that country.  Good luck with your journey :-D

http://www.our-africa.org/senegal

Also if you are looking for the expat classified ads in Senegal check-out: http://www.expat-dakar.com/

Updated video of our pending move to West Africa

Enjoy the video :-D

 

My Bucket List for Senegal 2014 year

Well this time I WILL create a bucket list of things I want to do see & do for me and the kids.  We will venture out and expose the kids to more of the country on a budget lol.  I hope to accomplish this 2014 & 2015 year.

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1.      Visit Touba

2.      walk the bridge to St Louis Island

3.      Visit  Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

4.      Tour Ile de Goree

5.      Visit the Senegal River

6.      Visit Langue de Barbarie National Park

7.      Take a safari in the middle of Senegalese savannah

8.      Visit and vacation Saly: Largest Seaside Resort In West Africa

9.      Visit Niokolo Koba Park, swamps and ponds

10.  Visit Galerie Nationale d’Art-Dakar

11.  Visit Marche Sandanga-Dakar

12.  Termites “Cathedrals”

13.  Visit Fishermen artisanal market Saint Louis

14.  Visit Mbour ecological reserve

15.  Visit biosphere area Delta du Saloum

16.  Visit Baobab forest

17.  Visit Lac Rose

18.  Tour Petite Côte (Little Coast)

19.  Take a trip to Cape Verde

20.  Visit Cayar and the Lugu Lake

21.  Visit Basse Casamance National Park

Have you created your bucket list for 2014?

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