Thursday, October 13, 2011


here begins my feeble attempt to explain a talibe center...

Who: volunteers (missionaries) create centers in the city for talibe boys.
          and who are the talibe boys?
talibe boys are boys (ages 5 and up i believe) who are sent from their village to the city(Dakar) to learn and study the Koran from a teacher (known as a Marabout) and live in a daara (communal living 20-30 kids). Marabout go out to different villages in Senegal and recruit boys to come and study Islam and the Koran. Most of the day however is spent begging for food and money rather than learning. giving alms to the poor is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. the talibe boys get plenty of practice learning that principle!

talibe boys and neighborhood children at the center

What: the Talibe Center is set up to provide one meal a day, showers, reprieve, laundry, medical treatment/first aid, Bible teaching
shower room

Where: there are multiple talibe centers in Dakar, one number I heard was 4. maybe more. the one i volunteer at is in a courtyard of a christian church.

When: mon-friday. 9-1. doors close at 1pm, but the volunteers continue to treat everyone who is there, just no new boys allowed in after 1. the volunteers i work with also receive house calls

How: this is the cool part. the marabout are fine with the christian talibe centers. while these boys are "learning" the koran the marabout are in charge of them. these boys have left their families behind. it is easier and cheaper for the marabout to have the boys go to these different centers to receive medical care and such. the talibe center i help at works with about 10 different marabout and their boys. the missionary ladies say that most of the marabout they work with are pleasent and appreciative and compliant. This is not the case for all. as in all things, some marabout are corrupt and use the talibe boys as a means to make money and are abusive.

A day at the talibe center
doors open at 9am. set up mats and toys/games for the boys. 

begin cooking breakfast. breakfast is the same everyday here. hot grain cereal cooked on a propane tank-like contraption, scooped into a large bowl, milk poured over top. 5 spoons to a bowl and the boys crowd around and eat communally.

dirty dishes

first come first serve: each boy receives a number when they walk in (we write a number on their arm/hand in marker). this is to help keep order with who gets to shower first and receive medical care first.

the boys then come up to jane and "mama" for first aid and pressing ailments.

"mama" at the medical table

jane (started this talibe center)

man oh man do we see a variety of things. mostly wounds, from either a disease or abscess or physical infliction. and lately malaria. last monday we had done 5 malaria tests; 3 positive. today Jane had performed 9 malaria test by the time i left at noon. 3 positive.

wound care

malaria testing
okay that was my attempt at explaining the talibe center. i will hopefully have more stories from there as i continue to volunteer. (every monday 9:30ish to noonish)
i just wanted to put out there a general blog of what a talibe center even is.

truely, it is beautiful organized chaos.
small glimpse: two women behind a medical table treating wounds and malaria while 30+ boys hang out washing clothes, talking on their cell phones, or working on their rap careers with the Psalms sung in wolof playing over the boombox.
not a bad monday, faith