As you all know, this journey started in September. The day we lost our Xarit, our friend. Then, we gathered this small family and drawn a goal: to build a free space for the development of the community of Gandiol.
So, we got hands-on: preparing paperwork, creating a website, social networks, producing a video to be able to make you all part of it. Then came the technical drawings, work schedule, the first participatory meetings, and so on… Many small steps to begin this long path in which now you have all joined us. It has not been easy, but nobody told us that it would be. And if something is clear for us, is that what matters is to enjoy every step, every moment, and in just a few months we have already learned more than we could have ever imagined.
Thanks to all of you, on May 29th, part of the team headed to Senegal to make the dream we had been planning for months come true. We landed in Dakar and we could not have had a better welcome: Djiby, Trinky, Miky, Pauline, Ana and many other locals and expats were waiting to welcome us, and we have felt like home since the very first day
We spent 3 days in Dakar before heading to Gandiol, where we will spend the next 3 months working to build Center. ¨Nanga Def¨, ¨Mangui si diam¨. Everybody greets us and asks us how we feel. One way or another, it is impossible not to learn some wolof (local dialect). The environment is very particular and attractive: the smell of sea and fish altogether, the colours, the constant sound of birds and the hustle of the market… We just arrived and already want to stay there, observing the movement, discovering another rhythm of life, as our Xarit told us.
We left Thursday morning to Gandiol. 5 hours of taxi heading north, and the fear of missing some of the surprises along the way do not allow you to close your eyes, not even for a second. At the arrival in Gandiol, the rest of the family was waiting for us, to share the meal and many experiences: Mamadou, Laura and her beautiful baby Xadi; Pablo and Irene, an adventurous couple that has moved to Gandiol a few months ago; and many others: Assane, Mariem, Pape, Seck… It is impossible to name them all, but here they are all members of the same family. A family that enjoys sharing everything everyday.
We arrived eager to work. From the first day, we already wanted to see adobe bricks and sand trucks moving around… But nank nank (step by step), as they say here, we had to start from the beginning! So, we went to the site where the Center will be built, situated just a 4-minute walk from Laura´s and Mamadou´s home, sunu keur (our home). The architects started measuring the dimensions and levels, so we could place the buildings without any mistakes. Today, we know that science has advanced and there are gadgets to do it all, but here we ¨prefer¨ to do it with our own hands. So with Pablo´s help we took a hose, we filled it with water, two wooden sticks, one measure tape and voila! Science speaks and water reaches an equal level at both sides. Everything is solved: the architects already had new data to insert in CAD and adapt the drawings.
The following step is cleaning the ground and make it all the same level, in order to then compact the sand and start building. Ramadan started on Tuesday, and while our Western mind makes us tremble, here they continue working. Maybe at another rhythm, but without stop. So we have already started cleaning the ground and meanwhile we are looking for the other construction materials
Although the construction with adobe (earth-based) is a traditional technique that has always been used in every corner of the planet, it has been abandoned and gave place to concrete, which requires less maintenance but is not environmental-friendly and has very poor insulating properties. Here in Gandiol, is not easy to find this kind of material, but we are determined to build the Center with adobe, and we are already working on it. Thanks to the local baker, whose oven is built with adobe, we know that in Rosso, a small village bordering Mauritania, there is clay and people who manufactures the adobe bricks. So, we are negotiating to bring raw material and build the bricks ourselves: we just need clay, sand, straw (or cow manure), water, and lots of manpower! It does not seem very complicated… But we will keep you posted about our advancements…
Big hug from Gandiol! Yendo ak diam! (Have a nice day!)