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13 May 2019 / leggypeggy

A special stay at The Little Boabab

The Little Boabab bar

The colourful bar at The Little Boabab

The Little Boabab is the most heartwarming and welcoming place we’ve visited in West Africa. It also has a huge touch of sadness (read on). Nestled in the village of Abéné in the Casamance (southern) part of Sénégal, The Little Boabab is the love child of Simon and Khady.

Years ago, Simon, an English journalist, fell in love with West Africa and Khady, a Sénégalese woman, who spoke only faltering English back then. Together they realised a dream and started to build The Little Boabab.

Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Simon. About 18 months ago, he was killed in a car accident when travelling between Abéné to Ziguinchor. The mere thought of it breaks my heart. My own father was killed in a car accident when I was 18. You can read about him here.

When we arrived at The Little Boabab and met Khady, I gave her a huge hug and said that I ‘sort of’ understood the grief she was going through. I lived through the loss of a father, but how could I possibly understand the loss of a husband, and especially in her circumstances? She has two gorgeous and energetic young boys—Gulliver and Alfie.


Gulliver (left) and Alfie are ready for school

We stayed two nights at The Little Boabab. We enjoyed delicious meals, a comfy bed with mosquito net, a guided village walk and an incredible dance performance. It’s also where the dancers managed to get Poor John on his feet.

Little Boabab is a full-service, solar-powered campground. They provided all meals, and I was lucky enough to barge my way into the kitchen to help on our second night. I learned how to stuff bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks.

cooking in Senegal

Helping in the kitchen at The Little Boabab

Expect more posts about Little Boabab and surrounds. I wanted to get this one done so that I could mention that Khady hopes to find someone to lease and run the campground for two years while she goes to London to fight for Simon’s property. He owned a flat (apartment) there that needs to be sold. I understand that his parents are trying to grab it and are not acknowledging Khady or their own grandchildren.

Simon wrote about his experiences. You can buy his books Squirting milk at chameleons: an accidental African and Chasing hornbills: up to my neck in Africa here. I was lucky enough to buy mine at The Little Boabab.

Dancing at The Little Boabab

Poor John living it up at The Little Boabab. He looks like he is having fun


Leave a Comment
  1. Eliza Ayres / May 13 2019 11:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    ❤ I love your adventures, Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jackie Gross / May 13 2019 11:15 pm

    Your travels are only what many of us dream about. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2019 11:30 pm

      You are most welcome. I so appreciate everyone who ‘travels’ along with us.


  3. Robert Parker / May 13 2019 11:26 pm

    My mother visited Saint Louis some years ago for work, and talks very enthusiastically about the wonderful people in Sénégal. This campground sounds like a great spot, very sorry for the family’s loss, and sad to hear the London relatives aren’t being supportive – maybe if they spend some time with Alfie & Gulliver they’ll warm up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2019 11:28 pm

      Apparently the family came to visit after Simon died and went away without helping. Sad beyond belief.


  4. derrickjknight / May 13 2019 11:30 pm

    Mixed emotions, indeed

    Liked by 2 people

  5. susan@onesmallwalk / May 14 2019 1:11 am

    L Peggy – What a compelling story, well-told. Thanks for taking us along – Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. koolkosherkitchen / May 14 2019 2:03 am

    What a story, Peggy! I hope Khady manages to get what’s hers by rights and definitely needed for her two adorable boys.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa Dorenfest / May 14 2019 2:25 am

    A poignant story on so many levels. Gulliver and Alfie are adorable. It breaks my heart to think of them growing up without their father (and to know that you lost your own father at 18). I hope Khady is successful at finding someone to lease and run the campground and in her fight to secure her rightful property.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. beetleypete / May 14 2019 4:11 am

    So sad to hear about Simon. But his legacy continues, in the love of his family.
    Great stuff indeed, Peggy.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman / May 14 2019 9:18 am

    Sad about he loss of Simon. And the fight back to ugly reality in London. What a stark difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 15 2019 12:40 am

      Amazing how different the world looks depending on our point of view.


  10. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / May 14 2019 12:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alison and Don / May 14 2019 12:12 pm

    What a heart breaking story. Not only does she lose her husband, but now has to go fight for what’s rightfully hers! I hope she is successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 14 2019 12:25 pm

    This is such a compelling story, tragic for Simon’s death and his absence from his wife’s and children’s lives, awful for his parents’ refusal to acknowledge their own beautiful grandsons whose lifeblood is theirs as well as Simon’s and Khady’s. How much of life and love we all miss by limiting ourselves to medieval ideas of ancestry and citizenship. I hope Khady’s visit to London opens the minds of Simon’s parents. She and her children have much to share with them. And of course I hope she’s successful in getting the courts to recognize her rightful ownership of her husband’s property.

    My heart also goes out to you, Peggy, at the loss of your father when you were so young. You and John do much to bring the world to my doorstep and to bridge the differences that are often artificial.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Emma Cownie / May 14 2019 5:21 pm

    Inheritances can bring out the worst in people, especially if the deceased didn’t make their wishes clear to the family before they died, but Simon clearly didn’t expect to die so young.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 15 2019 3:47 pm

      Inheritances can bring out the worst, but I would think that a wife’s right would be strongest. We can only wait and see.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The Lockwood Echo / May 14 2019 10:20 pm

    So wonderful and sad, in equal measure. I hope Khady and their sons have a bright and just future ahead of them.


  15. Jolandi Steven / May 15 2019 3:41 pm

    I love the photo of Poor John dancing, Peggy. Priceless! Such a bittersweet story and experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 15 2019 3:46 pm

      Thanks Jolandi. Seeing Poor John dance is a rare occurrence. I hope the joy we experienced at The Little Boabab spills over into Khady’s life.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. kkessler833 / May 17 2019 10:36 am

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. macalder02 / May 19 2019 12:34 pm

    The adventure becomes sad with Simon’s death and all the complications it brings. When you remember your past with the death of your father, it also saddens me, but life goes on and the good thing about this is that you have your husband who always supports you. I am pleased to read you because I travel the places you know with your story so vivid and full of so many adventures. It’s like watching a movie in the front row. Greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 19 2019 1:48 pm

      I always appreciate your comments. So pleased that you travel along with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Forestwood / May 19 2019 6:08 pm

    That is sad to hear, Peggy. Life always seems to go on, despite tragedy. What fun, though with John dancing!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ortensia / May 20 2019 12:33 am

    You ll never forget this trip😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 20 2019 7:34 am

      So true, although the blog and photos help me to remember.


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