Written by CorpsAfrica/Senegal Volunteer Ms. Mame Binetou Ndour
My name is Mame Binetou Ndour.
I am part of the second cohort of CorpsAfrica Volunteers in Senegal, living in the West of Senegal, in the region of Thies. More precisely in one of the villages that constitute the commune of Mont-Rolland.
Born and raised in Dakar (the capital of Senegal), I have not had a chance to speak my family language, Serer, in a long time. CorpsAfrica offers me this great opportunity to discover not only the commune of Mont-Rolland and all its splendor, realities, traditions, and cultures, but also a new perception of life, a way of thinking, and the chance to live in a community.
I can say that now I’m actually “Serer Ndut.”
Ndut is a word in Serer which designates a space developed by the farmers in the fields allowing you to protect yourself from the heat. This philosophy of security and protection has an important meaning in my community. My village consists of a Community Serer who is very anchored in their cultural and religious value – that of a Great Opening. They embody the Life of a Dahra, where everyone finds their place. My integration was not very hard because they see in me as a granddaughter Serer who was lost and now is back in the fold. Because of this fact, the community strives very hard to help me learn my language and ways of living. I have met with the principal of the school, where I studied prior to my Bachelors in Dakar. I want to acknowledge the principal, who comes from Mont-Roland and gave me much motivation, courage, and guidance on how to adapt and approach this population.
Islam-Christian Dialogue; The Force of My Community.
I noticed a very good cohabitation between Muslims and Christians in my community. There is an Islamic-Christian dialogue present in families, the administrative structures, and many more institutions with mutual respect and their religious practices. When there are community meetings, the prayer is directed either by a Christian leader or by a Muslim leader, and they share with ease.
The Dynamic of My Community and My Aspirations.
In addition to the cultural and religious aspects, I find a community that strives towards emancipation and is open to all kinds of discussions on the questions of development. I was surprised to find different structures working in several development areas in the community before I arrived. I think this process is already strong and they hope to have me help and find their own way in their development efforts. I am therefore very surprised by this organizational structure and strongly believe that in my work with this community I will learn from their knowledge and also be able to count on all their assets the community has.