Who am I?

Luca Sassi - Senegal

March 20, 2019

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

Luca Sassi