What’s the best about Senegaleese Culture?
-Na nga def? (How are you?)
–Magnifii rekk, dieuerudieuf. (Well, thank you)
Slowly, after getting use to being a married woman, i discover that living with someone talking a language different than French or English was a challenge of its own. None the less, the whole culture!
My husband and i were used to invite friends over or go to Senegaleese friends for dinner. Although, i soon discover that inviting a couple transformed quickly into 20 people as it meant inviting the whole community that was present in this small city. When we were having Senegaleese diners with other Senegaleeses of the Community and with some French Canadian friends, most of them being the girlfriends of the male ones, the French Speakers soon started to feel unwelcomed since the only language spoken when having big discussions was Wolof.
Some French Quebekers friends came to me and asked me »what’s the point of being part of the dinner if we are left outside of the conversion? ». From my own point of view, I tried to explain to them that probably the Senegaleeses were mostly happy to be able to talk to each other in their own language and not having to use the language of Colonisation. The answer back was quick :
»If they don’t want to continue the French Colonisation, then why choosing to come to school in a French City in Canada? They could go anywhere in the world to study in any language they want! »
In order to find a solution, I decided to talk to my Husband, Zoome, to see what was his point of view on that matter.
Once i shared the main complain, Zoome quickly answered that we were not in any obligation to come to these dinners. It sounded all but politically correct as an answer to me. I asked him if he was serious about what he was saying, and for sure he was. What a deception. My message was not passing, since there was no good exit to this communication. No one was winning. But i kept at it. I am a resilient person in most difficulties i came to encounter in my life.
I decided to use other situations (let’s hear here, other parties, or dinners with people from different communities, some were from Maghred and from Latin America) to give him a better understanding of what was happening. I asked him how he would feel if some of the friends who invited him at parties would left him out of conversations where he was invited. Being hosted, yet feeling rejected because you could not exchange with anyone since he was not include in the discussions or jokes.
Mentionning the jokes aspect quickly made him understand my point of view. What’s a joke if no one understand its language or its metaphore? No public, No commun language, no public, no fun. We finaly agreed that from time to time, at the next dinners, he would translate the main topic of what the discussion was about so the hosted could at least follow up the conversations and be able to jump into it with their point of view if they wished to. So was the inclusion of the French Friends into the Senegaleese circles.
That topic was never talked about again because this is how it worked from now on and it worked well enough. Everyone was happier. And the hosts kepted inviting the Quebekers to dinners for Thieboudienne, the Yassa or Maffè. My favorite dish is the Thieb made with fish and prepared by the hands of someone who knows how to do it. I have received guidance for the special receipe, however i did not succeed in making it properly, or to appropriate the receipe to my own taste as i did for the Yassa for example that i prepare specially when i have my home garden tomatoes ripe and juicy.
If by the way you did not click just yet on those links above, please do so as it will reveal you the secrets ingredients of these marvelous meals. If you are looking for the spices, i can suggest you to look online for the African shops in your town and go for it. If looking for advise on how to use the spices, ask the casheer or even best, get some advise from a Senegaleese Friend or even better, invite a Senegaleese Friend to dinner or for some cooking lessons!
Now I am wondering how are youngers generations getting their information about that same topic,
They have not been into slavery, yet they claim it as of their roots