It’s been two months since we arrived, with great expectations, so much energy, so many ideas to turn into reality, and a different rhythm of life to adapt. Today, we are part of the family, with our Senegalese names and our attempt to dance like Africans. The country of Teranga (hospitality) welcomes with open arms all of those who come with an open mind, willing to learn and share. It will be so hard to go back… But it’s better not to think about this now! We still have one month ahead and lots of work to do!
Now, we also have a better definition of our final Schedule. The administrative building will be finished in September. Unfortunately though, in this first mission, we will not be able to build the Library walls. With the arrival of the rain, the clay quarry flooded, making impossible to make more adobes until the end of “hivernage” (rainy season). So, with the foundation ready (alhamdoullilah!), the library will be finished on a next phase (November).
After immerging into the senegalese culture, we came to the conclusion that, to build the Center by a solid and efficient participatory process, it will be necessary to divide the Project into three phases: (1) Administrative Building, (2) Library, (3) multipurpose classrooms, where the participatory meetings and workshops, along with the management model and the startup, will be better spread in time.
The first phase (these first three months in Senegal) corresponded to the hardest part of our work: starting the team; organizing the logistics and the suppliers; building the library’s foundation and the whole administrative building; defining the participatory process guidelines; identifying possible partners, among others. And, Inshallah, in September we inaugurate together the administrative building!
To meet this Schedule, we already started to assemble the roof structure, which is one of the most important and challenging parts of the construction. And following the Center’s philosophy, we decided not to import wood form outside Senegal, even if it’s hard to find the appropriate wood here. We had to adapt the proper design to the material available, which demanded us lots of work. We have also already ordered the floor’s ceramic from a local artisan, among other materials. Besides, we keep studying the final carpentry design, so we can order the doors and windows as son as possible.
This week, we also started the cycle of participatory design and building workshops, which is one of the main axes of the Center’s model of community participation. On Tuesday we organized the Pilot Workshop (that will establish the parameters for the next ones) along with Hahatay’s volunteers and members from Gandiol’s youth. We will soon tell you more about it, but for now, it is enough to say that, after a wonderful teamwork, Hahatay’s plot will soon be filled with different threes, bushes, flowers and fruits!
On Saturday we will host the second community joint action, opening Hahatay’s doors to all Gandiol. So, we finish our account here… We have to gather energy, since lots of work (and dance) wait for us! Bachi kanan! See you soon!