While roaming through the crazy streets of Senegal in a bus that is not the most comfortable mode of transport I’ve been in in my life, Izzy, another fellow, decides to ask me what I think about Norway and its people. I suddenly got reminded of the two years I spent living there and how my thoughts towards that country and its society are very conflicted. As much as I loved being there and it is a beautiful country, I could still point out many things that I didn’t consider right for me and therefore didn’t particularly like. I rapidly told Izzy that if I had to choose tomorrow if I wanted to live in Senegal or Norway for the rest of my life I would surely choose Senegal.
This is something that now, seems the most sensible option to me, but before coming here I would’ve never imagined I would think this way. I have to be bluntly honest and say that before coming to Senegal I had a lot of stereotypes. Stereotypes that the media and society have engrained on me and also that I’ve myself created. I was scared of what I could encounter in Senegal and didn’t know what to expect. However, as soon as I stepped foot in Senegal there’s something that captivated me. The movement in the streets, the smiles in everyone’s face, the ‘come eat lunch with us’ from whoever you pass by, the reassurance that there is peace at every corner. My preconceived thoughts of Senegal were rapidly changing and since the beginning I started falling in love with the country of Teranga.
The mess I see in the streets of Senegal everyday is a beautiful mess, is a mess that has become my own. I was talking to a Senegalese friend and he told me: “Senegal is not rich, but there is peace. You can roam in the streets and feel safe, you can be hungry at 12:00 and someone will invite you to eat.” This peace that Senegal owns is one that you cannot describe until you see it with your own eyes. The peace in this country is felt in the heart of everyone, and in every house and street. I think this peace is one of the reasons why people are so content here. If you ask any Senegalese person on the street if they would want to live any other place everyone will tell you that Senegal is their home.
I am aware that peace is not the only thing needed in a country to prosper economically, politically, etc. But I believe that Senegal has so much to teach to even the most developed countries in the world. There’s just something special about being here and it is hard to put it into words, that’s why I think it should be left to see with one’s own eyes and heart. With this blog I am not announcing my move to Senegal for the rest of my life, but I am definitely stating that it is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever been in and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to live here and meet its people. We should stop evaluating our lives by the amount of things we have, monetary and military power a country owns, the level of development, etc .There’s so much more things that can make our lives much better and happier, and I think Senegal has found the answer.