Bricks by Bricks

Alison Rivera - Senegal


February 11, 2013

I remember when Mom bought property; what it meant for the family…new start, a promise, the beginning of something better. The house was just missing paint, and it was completed… ready for our arrival.

I also remember five months ago, how I hated the sight of cement buildings with no doors or installed windows no floors; emblemed emptiness. The buildings were along the main roads that were decorated with whitening cream and cellphone advertisement billboards. Then I arrived to Bambilor where there were only a few cement buildings and a plethora of cement foundations. “Not finished but good enough” is what I thought were the perspectives of the Senegalese people. It did not look like an American dream house but more established than a straw roof hut. Bambilor was once just a farm, but it is slowly urbanizing.  At the time (October), I couldn’t decide what I hated more an incomplete building or a foundation that has been laid without a continuation of construction.

My house symbolized a promise for the better; these foundations symbolize empty promises, forgotten wishes, vanished aspirations.

Recently, I have seen a contradiction to my past perspective on the incomplete construction.  Families reside in the cement buildings despite the missing windows, doors,or floors.  Shrugging their shoulders as pieces of their roof fall on my head. Smiling as they dust off the white pieces that made its way into my hair. “Faleuleen” – they pay no attention to it. My neighbors find the beauty in their home because of what is inside… family.

Alison Rivera