1. The perspective of the sky
Being on this side of the hemisphere, not only is the
climate and culture different, but also the view of the sky. The sun is bigger, the half-moon shapes a parabola opening upwards. I'll miss those
silent moments sitting on the rooftop gazing at the billions of stars and the
2. Baobab trees
These majestic threes have gotten a dear place in my heart
not because it is the national symbol of Senegal, but because in and around my
village Sandiara there are thousands of these and the further I explored and
the more I grew throughout the year, the more I would notice them and realise
how many more there were just on the edge of the horizon. As the year has
unfolded, I've come to believe and I think of them as wise guardians of the
3. Dancing to Sereer rhythm
There's something extremely exhilarating about letting
yourself loose and follow the increasingly rapid rhythm of drums. I'll long for
this feeling of adrenaline and endorphins rushing through my body as I dance to
Sereer music in weddings, ceremonies and even funerals.
4. Being called Diambonge
Diambonge [Jamboin] was the Senegalese given to me by my
host-fam and became a big part of identifying me in my host community. I'll
miss having people call my name from a far, waving and smiling at me.
5. Travelling with public transportation by myself
Those rough, bumpy and rapid rides can awaken any
adventurous spirit, and I’ll miss the ease with which one can get on and off
any vehicle that will take you wherever you need for only a few coins. The
first time I travelled alone, I felt quite anxious but soon realized that
travelling with public transportation by myself was a lot more liberating that I
would expect. And that wouldn’t be the case if people weren’t as friendly and
helpful as they are.
6. Greeting people
One of the most central parts of Senegalese culture is
greeting each other. We greet everyone in the house once one enters and we
greet the people passing by on the street, and no one simply greets by waving
the hand, but it is done respectfully by shaking hands for a long time while
exchanging wishes of peace for one another and one’s family.
7. Having animals around at all times
Donkeys, pigs, horses, chickens, goats and sheep would roam
the streets, backyards and even sometimes get inside the house. I’ll miss the sounds they make and being held
company by these animals whenever I wait for something or someone.