The Africa that my kids will grow up knowing is not the same Africa that I grew up in. Not surprisingly, there are some big differences between village life 20+ years ago and big capital-city life in 2014. (I mean, as Cheikh likes to say, Dakar is the Paris of Senegal after all.)
Sometimes I grieve for the experiences that they won’t have because we life in a cement block apartment in an asphalt (and sand) neighborhood. And there are times that I wonder if my kids will feel like they have roots in Senegal later in life. Will they joke around in Wolof and know that thieboudienne tastes best eaten with your hands from the common bowl? I hope we give them every opportunity to make Senegal their home and not just their host country.
Today Cheikh took our son, Pape, to our friend’s village. We’ve known Demba since 2002 and he was actually the very first of our Senegalese friends that I told when we got engaged. This wasn’t Cheikh’s first visit to Demba’s family, but it was a first for Pape.
He ate mangoes and baobab fruit right off the trees, chased chickens, pet baby chicks (and apparently the kids were petting his blond hair at the same time), saw newborn piglets, sat on a horse, “helped” plow the field and made a name for himself as quite the little lutteur (Senegalese wrestler).
Sama xol dafa sedd. My heart is happy. (Literally translated, ‘My heart is cold’. Which, if you think about it, is happiness itself in hot season.)