Did you ever feel guilty when taking a picture? Or just for the mere fact of thinking about taking one?
Did you ever struggle with how to share a story? Which words to use, which details to include.
How can I even share an experience with a “community” without falling into superficiality and a judgment I do not want to fall into?
I did not bring a camera to Senegal.
I did not take selfies with small boys in my village.
I did not take a picture of a single person until my fourth month ONLY when they explicitly asked for one.
I always thought this was the only “wrong” thing I knew I could prevent.
“Why don’t you take pictures with us? You don´t like us?” My small sister, Oumou asked me after three months living in the house.
I did not know what to answer, so I just said I did not like pictures but I would love to take one with her.
My host sisters and host mom love taking pictures, and we did many times after that. When we went for runs together, to do our service project or when we were just chilling at the house. But I promised myself I was never going to share them.
I felt that during my gap year we talked a lot about how to create a positive experience and hot to be conscious of the other to do no create a negative impact. Should not it be the same as how we share our story?
GCY has been somehow always on the edge, that edge where is hard to define where they are really standing. How can the make us share our story when I am not even sure if that will be in any way positive? If somehow, I feel I am putting myself as the protagonist when sharing “my own experience in Senegal”, and a bit more part of a post-colonialist system.
Here I am, deleting and writing again a post about my own experience of sharing because it has been harder than what it seems like. I am, again, struggling with which words to use and which details to include. While scrolling down the not-so-many pictures I have, I realized how much they started to mean to me. They are the memories of our moments, and of our feelings. Moments of a family that opened their arms and heart to me. Of a country that fulfilled me with its warmth and its strength. Of a place and people that can hardly be heard and a community more united and strong that most of the rest I have been to.
I can hardly share how much this experience means to me, but in a struggle of what and how to share, I decided to make public some pictures that mean a lot more than just a picture. I am adding a small description or local poetry with the hope that you all can get an idea of how simplistic but how enormous this low-quality pictures and people in it can be.
Thank you so much for reading a messy but nevertheless a reflection upon this!
Small note: I did not take all those pictures, thank you so much for the generous people that shared them with me!! (As I said before, I did not have a camera)