Travel back with me eight years to my house in the Senegalese village of Miname. Odds are pretty good that sitting on the porch is Djiby Ndiaye, the chief’s 14-year-old grandson. He may be making attaya (tea) on a small grill, using the First Aid kit to bandage up little cuts and scrapes on kids from the neighborhood, or listening to Bible story cassettes on an old tape player. But like I said, the odds are good that he’s there on the porch – for one reason or another.
After we left Miname, Djiby was able to go to Malika Monkeys, a trade school that takes in young Senegalese men and trains them in practical skills such as drum making, wood and metal work, sewing, basic business skills and reading and writing in Wolof. These skills can be used to support themselves and their families throughout the program as well as when they leave.
So the equation you’ll see developing here is:
I really wanted to see Djiby again
+ We wanted to visit Malika Monkeys
+ They sell cool crafts
= day trip to the village of Malika!
It. was. awesome.
Seeing Djiby-all-grown-up was, of course, great. (He sends his greetings to you, Roxaya!) We spent the morning getting a tour of the trade school (drum-making, sewing, metal working, wood working) and also the crafts they’ve added (jewelry, painting…).
One of the things I absolutely loved was that so many of the crafts recycle things that would normally be considered trash: scrap paper, aluminum cans, fabric scraps, glass bottles, etc…