Écrit par Mme Nganawe Chiwona, volontaire d’échange CorpsAfrica/Sénégal
The sun rose over the vibrant landscape of Senegal, casting a warm glow over the community where Nganawe, an Exchange Volunteer from Malawi was sent. Her day began with the tantalizing aroma of freshly brewed attaya, a local tea. As she emerged from her modest host family’s home, Nganawe felt the excitement of another day filled with meaningful connections and cultural immersion.
Nganawe’s day started with the host family taking her for an adventure. They invited her to join them on a traditional fishing expedition at a nearby river. The anticipation in the air was palpable as Nganawe, armed with a bucket and a sense of adventure, followed the family towards the shimmering waters.
As they reached the pods of water, Nganawe observed the ingenious method employed by the villagers. They first start by sectioning the pods, to ensure that the fish do not escape to the other side. With buckets and baskets in hand, the family formed a human chain. One member would fill their bucket with water and toss it across the pods to the waiting hands of another family member, strategically positioned on the opposite bank. The process resembled a choreographed dance, a rhythmic exchange of water that created a makeshift current, pushing the fish toward the baskets.
Nganawe joined in, feeling the cool water against her skin as she became part of this communal effort. Laughter echoed along with the splash of water, and Nganawe marveled at the unity inherent in this age-old practice. The shared excitement when the baskets were filled with flopping fish painted a picture of a simple yet profound connection with nature and sustenance. And after her return home, she had a glorious meal of rice and fish called Thieboudienne. The flavors were a symphony of spices, a celebration of hot pepper, perfectly cooked rice, and fish, adding a savory touch to the ensemble. Nganawe savored each bite, realizing that this shared meal was more than nourishment; it was a feast of cultural exchange.
In the afternoon, Nganawe took a walk around the community where she had the chance to meet the beautiful community members with whom she would eventually work. She saw tall, tall beautiful trees she had never seen in her life and she had the privilege of meeting community members who cultivated onions and other vegetables- a truly enchanting sight. Getting to know these warm-hearted people, she even shared some groundnuts to take home.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, making the end of the day, Nganawe often found herself engaged in cultural exchange. She joined her community under the starlit sky listening to their stories, they were nice enough to explain using signs, or sometimes all she heard was blvlbhbfvbavfbh;aefbkjnfev but watching their beautiful laughs and smiles filled her up with joy.
As Nganawe goes to bed, surrounded by the sounds of the night- the distant beat of drums, the chirping of crickets, and the occasional laughter from neighboring households- she reflects on her volunteer journey. Each day brought new lessons, new connections, and a deep appreciation for the warmth of the Senegalese people.
In Senegal, every sunrise marked not just the beginning of a day but an opportunity to contribute to a community, forge connections, and be part of a story that transcended borders and touched the heart.