Getting a taxi in Dakar is definitely a sport! You have to learn how to bargain and most importantly to NEVER GIVE IN. Remember, there are literally tens of thousands of taxis in the capital so you'll always find a good ride. With all the heavy traffic in the city getting to your destination can take some time, but this gives you the perfect opportunity to waxtaan (converse) with your driver. Talk about what places are the best for food or live music. You can even talk about your home state! There are large Senegalese communities all over the US (NY, Indiana, Kansas, Texas) and 99% of the time your driver probably has family or friends in the states! Talking is vital in Senegal. Making sure you're acknowledging the people around you and showing them that you care, is extremely important in Senegalese culture and tradition
Taximan: Maalekum Salaam!
(Tip: Senegal is 95% Muslim, so don’t be surprised if you hear an Islamic greeting! Greetings and salutations are extremely important in Senegalese culture!)
You: « PointE » laay dem ci « SIT Learning Center ». Ñaata?
« The Neighborhood » I go to « the place ». How much?
Taximan: Fayal 4000 F!
Pay 4000 Franc CFA (8 US dollars)!
(Tip: Taksi rides should be around 2 dollars or less!)
You: Déedéet! Waññi ko! 1000 F nak?
No! Lower! 2 dollars?
(Tip: Negotiate with your driver! If they aren’t giving you a fair price walk away and they’ll call you back for sure! They never turn down a customer.)
Taximan: Yéegal nu dem!
Get in! We go!
Fatima Tall is a creative writing and gender, women's and sexuality studies major at the University of Iowa, who will be spending her semester in Dakar, Senegal, on the SIT Senegal Global Security and Religious Pluralism program.