What is more magic than a Baobab?
A few years ago, nature or a joker decided to bring a baobab seed and plant it in the middle of the only football field in Gorèe. This football field is a regular one, even though it’s a tenth of the whole surface of the island. As I said before, Senegalese people love football.
When they noticed the Baobab, it was too late, since as I said before, you cannot touch it; it’s sacred. So the plant grew and the players first tried to play a bit further from it and then developed a method to play around it.
Yes, you read it well. I saw it with my eyes, 20 big guys running around a giant tree. I know how difficult is to dribble a big guy, imagine to dribble a tree!
Some knowledge about Baobab
Since we’re speaking about Baobab, let’s say something more. Baobab produces two kinds of fruits. One, they told me that if you try to touch it, you’ll end up with something like nettle stings on your hands for a whole day. It’s called “monkeys bread” by the locals and I guess I don’t have to tell you why. The fruits, if you know how to handle them, are edible and used to produce special flour and other dishes. For someone like me, coming from Sardinia, it reminds me of a prickly pear, so dangerous to take with bare hands and so delicious when you know how to clean it properly.
The second fruit of Baobab is called “don’t eat it”. Or, to be clear, that was a joke from my Senegalese friend. Jokes apart, don’t eat it, if you don’t want to check the hospital system in Senegal.
Again, I wasn’t joking when I said Baobab is at the centre of the whole community. When there’s a newborn here, they show it first to the mom and then place it in front of the Baobab tree to receive a blessing. When they told me that, I felt a warm sensation. It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever heard. I would like to have a tree one day and present my son to it.
The sand painters
Ok, let’s move from Baobab (not that far, since the island is still tiny) to the figure of Fallou, the sand painter. This massive guy doesn’t seem to have an age, he can be 15 or 50 and he’s an absolute master.
He collects specific coloured sands all over the place and then puts them into small squares. Each sand has a story and every story has so many characters, each one with a story that maybe I will write a book only to explain that!
In short, this master can produce a painting using all his sands in about ten seconds. In ten seconds I received my picture and I swear until the last moment I couldn’t tell what it would be.
Let’s go back to reality
We’ve seen the island, the Baobab and now it’s time for the hard part, the visit to the House of slaves. Read it here.
You didn’t read the previous part about Gorèe island? Read it here.
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