We left the hotel early today for partner visits. It was a hot day, bumpy and sandy roads, we heard many different stories from many different colourful people translated from Wolof into French and now I'm tired and hungry. Still there is one thing that I promised to do: I would accompany our bus driver to a store further down the road to buy some water bottles for tomorrow.
We enter a small shop where they seem to sell everything that you could ever need. And yes, they also sell small bottles of water, some juice and a few cans of Coke. Apart from me and the driver there is one other customer and two men working in the shop.
The shop owner quickly gathers my order and tells me the price in French with a thick Wolof accent. I'm not sure if I understood him well and make a writing sign, asking him to write down the amount. 'Facture, madame', he asks me. Sure, why not, I think, so I nod.
50% literacy rate
NOW my greatest moment of embarrassment happens: the man says he can't write and asks his colleague, who claims he can't write either, just like the bus driver. The only other customer said he could and was friendly enough to write down an invoice for my bottles of water.
It took him a few minutes and I felt so stupid! I had been told before that the literacy rate in Senegal is around 50% and ask the first man I meet in a local shop to make an invoice.
Travelling is all about learning.