Who am I?

If you know me for the past 18 years of my life you probably know me as
Luca Sassi…. maybe my full name if you know me well, but not in here, not
in this country. The moment I took my first step in what is now my home I
saw a woman, who the first thing she told me once I looked up at her was
“Mame Cheikh, your name is Mame Cheikh Samb”. As soon as that happen I
smiled, I knew one person from Senegal before traveling in here and his
name is Cheikh. I felt honoured to have the name of my first friend form

So as I mentioned, as soon I took my first step into home, my life changed
in many ways, not only I had a new name which felt kind of odd at the
beginning, I also had a new family, a new household, and millions of
different new manners to learn (starting by language).

Coming from Uruguay in my house there was only 5 of us (mom & dad, plus my
2 brothers), which for me always felt like a lot of people. My family here
in Senegal is just a little bit larger than that. My mom and dad (Maimouna
and Mor Diop) followed by my 3 younger brothers (Serigne Fallou, Serigne
Diaw and Papa Mbaye) followed by my 3 younger sisters (Ndeye Ndatté, Marie
Ngouda and Mame Soda) followed by my cousin (Abdou) and the maid (Mariama)
which for me is like another sister. Not only It was double the size of my
family back home, as I was also playing the role of big brother, something
that was kind of new for me as well.

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(My Yaay, little sister Mame Soda and I)

But what else was different?

One of the most shocking different things was in my opinion all the
different meals. Starting by breakfast. Back home I would have some small
toasts with coffee, while here I eat half a loaf of

bread and coffee, sometimes bred with some “odd” combinations such as bread
and pasta, and or bread and fish (but all things I love now). Then
regarding to lunch and dinner, there is not such thing as sitting in a
table with individual plates. On the other hand, there is a big bowl full
of food (on daily basis rice and fish). The family will gather around the
bowl which lays on the ground and with either a spoon or your hands start

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I could keep naming things that I approach different in this country like
showering with a bucket, bargain for anything I buy and the simple fact of
moving from a city of 1.7 million people to a small village. But I guess
that big change and stepping out of what I already “know” is the point of
this experience. I’m very exited to see what the next months have for me