It’s the end of June, only three weeks have passed and we already feel that we have been here for a long time. We feel part of this beautiful family that makes us smile every day, in a house which we now call home, or the commune. What an incredible gift from our xarit. She has brought us here. She has given a meaning to what we are doing. And above all, she has given us a reason to keep fighting, together with her and Hahatay for a world with less inequalities, and more opportunities for all.
Last week we said goodbye introducing Ndaga, who was digging trenches for the buildings’ foundations. This week we can tell you that, after checking the trenches’ levels, placing the wood and the metal structure inside of it, and finally filling the ditches with concrete, we are already placing the library cement bricks: the last stage before the adobe walls. But before that, we will do these same steps (foundation) with the administration building. Our idea is to start the modulation with adobe at the smaller building, in case we have any mistakes to correct.
Every day we are surprised by the strength and motivation of the workers. The moon is already decreasing and the sun is burning, but Ramadan continues and they keep going with an impressive pace. They put their music on, sing and joke around. They show us every day that neither thirst or hunger can prevent you from achieving your goals if you are determined to do so.
But as you can imagine, not everything has been easy. There have been moments of doubts and discrepancies. Not only the language is sometimes a barrier. Here, they are used to build in a different way and at another pace. And the fact is that, the toubabs (local word for white people) are very complicated! We suspect that whenever we arrive at the site, they want to put their hands on their heads as a sign of concern (but all that with kindness, as always). To give you an example, one of Gandiol’s elders, who is over 70 years old, said he had never seen so much concrete in a foundation! For us it’s just at matter of safety… Oh, and that same day, to arrive at a perfect concrete mixture was also like an auction: ¨ more water! ¨, ¨ more gravel! ¨. ¨ no! less sand!¨. Not to mention the jokes and giggles with the vibrator (for the concrete, of course).
But this project has a great advantage: Mamadou. He embodies the understanding between the senegalese and the toubabs, between the North and the South. He is the meeting point half way. So, when things are not clear, Mamadou makes us sit in the shade to talk and exchange views and reach an agreement before continuing. Not a simple task if we take into account that the only shade of the ground is given by a Palm tree (which you probably have seen on our photos). The shade moves around it during the day, and we keep following it…
Each time we are discussing and, afterwards, one understands the point of view of the other, we all feel like we have enriched. And that is precisely the aim of Center Aminata: to be a meeting point for exchange and for individual and collective enrichment. Hahatay is doing a great job by encouraging the participation of the community for their own development, and by promoting the exchange of experiences and desires of all and for all.