It seems unreal but the farewell is getting closer. Part of our team will say goodbye to Senegal this week, although for us it is more like a “see you soon”, until we meet again. Even so, without having gone yet, we cannot avoid thinking about when we will be back.
3 months have passed already, but it seems like a lifetime. So many months thinking of coming, planning our work here, getting ready to discover the world we knew only through the words of our Xarit, and we are already flying back. But we are returning filled with experiences, apprenticeship and discoveries. We say goodbye loaded with emotions, impressions and feelings that we will only understand with some perspective.
And as it is part of the human nature, we wish we could have done more, seen more, discovered more… But proud and satisfied with what we have achieved. As a wise man once said, ¨even the longest journey starts with a step¨ (lao Tse). And here we have given big first steps of a long journey that has just started. This trip started from a dark day, but today it lights our path. A path in which everyday there are new people joining and accompanying us; adding their illusions and their energy to this project that belongs to everyone who believes in it.
The core of our team is already formed. The bases to build the library (in November) are ready, and the Administration will be finished by the end of September. The main structure is done (Foundation, walls and roof), leaving the remaining finishes to our local team in Senegal. The participatory process is already defined and has begun to bear fruit. This season, we have organized two joint actions (open doors day), a meeting of discussion with the community, three visits to women’s associations, and the pilot participatory workshop (landscape design). The team of young people who will be in charge of disseminating the project and organize discussions with the different groups is underway and will continue to work when the school year begins in early October.
And most importantly, now all the team knows better the context and the reality of this project. These months of intense cultural immersion have allowed us to rethink many ideas that needed to travel from the paper to the real world. We gradually get to know more about the Gandiol’s community, their expectations and their needs. We are also consolidating more and more the participatory philosophy itself: this early stage is focused on supporting and facilitating the community’s empowerment process, where the inhabitants by themselves will create opportunities for the future.
Now, we look ahead and there is a lot to be done. A report will be prepared with the project first phase’s evaluation: budget details, results achieved and the planning for the next steps. We will also develop in more detail the Center’s management and financing models, so you can be aware of everything and participate with your opinions and ideas to make this a success, the success of all.
And before we say “see you soon”, we want to thank you on behalf of Gandiol and all the team. Without you none of this would be possible.