Back on the horse

When summertime rolls around in Dakar, Aïda Sow is a good name to know. To make a living, she sells a medley of Senegalese staples including smoked fish, palm oil, and bissap—a sugary, iced infusion made from crimson hibiscus leaves.
Where does she look for inspiration? Her two children. Fulfilling a promise she made years ago, Aïda works to keep them in school so that they “do not miss out on education like their mother”. From the outset, her story has been one of meticulous saving and long-term planning.  Lacking the funds to complete high school, Aïda kept busy as a full-time housekeeper and earned the $600 needed to launch her business. She has grown from vendor to restaurant-owner despite a battle with cancer and the associated financial strain. Sam Gant brings us the latest from Ms. Sow’s bustling operation:

I visited Aida on May 30th and was very happy to see that her restaurant is enjoying a great deal of success in the neighborhood. Despite her previous health issues Mme Sow has made a courageous recovery, adding a small addition onto her house where she serves lunch and dinner. Her restaurant, “Le Plat du Jour,” is very popular among her neighbors, and I had the opportunity to chatting with two other Sacré Coeur residents while I enjoyed the plate of fish, couscous and rice that she absolutely insisted I accept. She explained that the restaurant is more popular during the evening than at lunchtime, and later during the day she serves beignets, homemade juices, and fish or meat along with rice. 
Her future ambitions include buying more chairs and tables and eventually expanding her seating area. She has only been open for one month but the amount of traffic she has already is encouraging.                                                                                                                         
Aïda gratefully acknowledges Zidisha’s ongoing support and we wish her nothing but the best as the upswing continues. With the dog days around the corner, let’s hope that parched patrons flock to Ms. Sow’s Plat du Jour for some chilled bissap and a plate of smoked fish.

Stay in the loop on Aïda Sow’s Zidisha profile page.

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