Ndeye Mariana Mané is a 28-year-old Senegalese woman who has been practicing midwifery in Ngathie-Naoudé near the Kaolack region for a number of years. I met Ndeye during an internship abroad in Senegal in February 2014. Today, she shares with us her culture.
"What really makes me proud to be Senegalese is our openness, that is, my Teranga. The Teranga is a Wolof word that means to be welcoming, warm, hospitable, always ready to welcome a stranger at home and integrate him into his family. We share everything: meals, clothes and even money. From their young age, the little ones learn the meaning of the Teranga. A Senegalese always helps his neighbor, especially if the latter is a stranger visiting. He will introduce him to the various localities, cultures and traditions and invite him to participate in local ceremonies and festivals. I really invite all the people to come to discover Senegal more particularly, the Casamance, the green Casamance, where I was born."
Indeed, Ndeye during our passage welcomed us as per the Senegalese way. She helped us integrate well with the locals, invited us to share meals with her, tea ceremonies and several typical Senegalese evenings. This internship was for my friend and I a total cultural immersion. The first few days were not easy, Oh no! 40 degrees Celsius in the shade, having a hot air source as a fan in our concrete room, our cold shower (thank goodness!) right beside our Turkish toilet (super comfortable in times of intestinal discomfort ...) without communication with our families, the neighbor's donkey who took great pleasure in eating at any hour of the day right beside our permanent open window without mosquito net and what to say of the mosque located less than 20 meters of our "house" and its prayers at night. An enormous adaptation on the personal level (even after all my trips around the world) and professional level. At work, lets just say we don't have the same sanitary provisions. So we had to work with what we had, and they are quite ingenious with the material they have at their reach. They also face many moral dilemmas that may have violated our values in Canada.
I learned not to hurry as much and to no longer look at the time, as the Senegalese do so well. I learned to feel the wind soften my face, to watch the sand fly in the air, to travel at the whim of their songs and their dances, and tell myself that the Senegalese really understood what enjoy the present moment meant. It was not always easy, but these people made me grow and realize a lot of things.
Thank you, TERANGA!