More Snapshots from Senegal

More Snapshots from Senegal

A hive of village activity that follows the arc of the sun

My recent visit to our wonderful weavers in Senegal always invites the question from friends: “What is it really like?” Apart from the UNESCO heritage and natural beauty sites, curiously it’s the little everyday things that leave a strong impression on me.

Much of it revolves around the particular sights and sounds of the village and the rhythm of the day. The mornings are calm and relatively cool with the children off to school and the weavers, all women as only women weave in Senegal, working together, sitting in groups outdoors with plenty of lively chatter going on as they weave, sharing laughter and pranks.

By midday, in the stifling heat, the men and women eat lunch, usually in separate groups, each group helping themselves enthusiastically from a large sharing bowl.

By late afternoon, there’s a real cacophony of noise, people talking, calling out to each other across the courtyard where they congregate, children out of school playing and letting off steam. Then there are the animals: cockerels, chicks, donkeys and the odd cow wandering through the village with all their typical noises adding to the madness!

By evening, my favourite time there, calm descends just after sunset and the call to prayer (90% of Senegalese are Muslim) with the distinctive smell of nuts roasting and evening meals being prepared and enjoyed. Time seems to slow down and I find this time-of-day mesmerising.

Every time I visit there’s a new baby to coo over or a new young woman learning the traditional weaving skills from an older mentor so things continue to evolve. This sense of close community, bonded by shared work with a routine dictated by the climate, from sunrise to sunset is what really stays with me and draws me back.

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