Over the last two weeks, I have had more tea to drink than ever before in my life.
Every morning with breakfast, I have a cup of tea. The hot liquid in the already humid air is just enough to initiate the first layer of sweat on my forehead, a constant phenomenon in the Senegalese heat.
Every night for break the fast, I have a cup of tea (what is it called?). This tea is brewed from scratch, using natural ingredients (which ones…), and it is absolutely delicious.
And, if I am lucky, my oldest host brother, Diama, makes ataya at night, the traditional Senegalese tea that is also brewed from scratch. Although made every night in some houses, in my house it is only made for special guests and celebrations. Ataya is a very strong tea, which one drinks in small amounts at a time, in three stages: the first cup is the strongest, with little sugar, and the second and third cups have more and more sugar respectively. It is made from adding Chinese tea leaves to boiling water, and then adding the appropriate amounts of sugar. However, it is a much longer process than that, involving proper amounts of foam, in addition to mint and other spices. I can honestly say it is the most delicious tea I have ever tasted.
Diama asked me if I had ever made tea before, to which I responded, “No, in America we only use tea bags” to which he replied, “yes, that is because in America, time is money.” So, he promised to teach me the art of tea brewing, a phenomenon that I hope to bring back to the States.
The internet is being surprisingly quick right now, so I am taking advantage of it to upload some photos! Here is my house in Dakar: