It began with The Unite 4
I'm standing on the sandy hill. There is banana plantation below my sight.
I see a small hut in the middle of the plantation and tiny smoke is rising
up from it. It might be preparation for the dinner, I guess. Beyond the
banana plantation is vast green area and ponds of reservoir. When I look
over, I can see the skyline of downtown in Dakar far away. Sands are blown
by the wind and rustle on my legs. However slightly cooled evening breeze
is much more comfortable than hellish heat of the day time.
I've got my own time at last. I take sigh. The place where I can be alone
is now in Arabic style bathroom or here on the hill. Staying in the living
room of the ordinary house means that I don't have private space at all.
Unless I'm in the room, I have to receive the guests at any time. To be
honest, I'm getting very tired of it. "So why not get out the room?"
Well, at small town in suburb of Dakar, Asian is one of the biggest target
of people's curiosity. I'm always surrounded by the people like a magnet
which is stuck by iron sands. Children are chaffing from distance. Adults
give me various questions. The old invite me to the dinner. As a matter
effect, I'm never left alone all the day. However fortunately, I've never
felt any racial discrimination in their attitude. Basically, Senegalese
people are very friendly. And of course, they have full of curiously.
"So It's very nice to you being surrounded by the people. Because
you take the portrait" You may say so. Yes, that's true. But I want
to be left alone sometime, you know? Contrary to the vast wilderness, population
rate of African cities are extremely high. In Africa, only place where
I can be alone is toilet seems something irrational to me.
After all, I can't find quiet place even for reading. And I walk up on
the sandy hills at the end of day. Then I look over the scenery. It becomes
my routine. Hearing voice of pray from the mosque, I spend the time alone.
This is the most peaceful time in a day. When the sun goes down, I leave
the hill. On the way back home, I'm invited the people I don't know for
the dinner. I accept it. I thank for them, and go back to home. Tonight
also, another guests might be waiting for me in my room. I feel full not
in my stomach but in my mind.
Those are from journal of my first days in Senegal. I was so nervous. However,
my tough experience in Dakar Parcelles Unite 4 (Parcelles means agricultural
or residential zone) was very useful to comprehend Senegal and the people.
The network of friends also began at the Unite 4. Whenever I visit Dakar,
I stop by there. I can see the familiar faces. And if course, I can see
the sandy hill.
"La colline du vent" Dakar, Senegal 2002
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