Gorèe , an island a stone’s throw away from Dakar
I wake up early, have breakfast and bam! I’m ready for a new adventure.
This time I’ve decided to visit Gorèe island. Someone told me it was worth it, and now I am here, with some water and snacks in my backpack and a few thousand CFA. Yes, the currency here reminds me of when we had Lira, our currency before Euro in Italy. To give you an idea, 200K in the local currency is worth 304 EUR.
Let’s go to Gorèe, the ferry
We pass the mad traffic we spoke about in our previous article about Dakar and with tickets in our hands, we board our ferry for the island. Here, lovely ladies of all ages, start giving you unselfish advice on where to go to buy something on the island. Every woman is giving advice on where to go to the island, and the shops have the same exact name. So the woman sponsoring “Mariama fruits and vegetables”, having the best fruits in the island, is suspiciously called Mariama herself. I mean, Mariama is one of the most used names in Senegal, but…
One, in particular, Mouna, catches my attention. First, she asks me if I’m married and if not, since Senegalese women are the best (“We are better than a diamond, believe me”). After she realises that I have a nice golden ring on my left ring finger, she passes to a more sober business-like talk.
She says she’s a businesswoman and wants me to come and visit her atelier. The atelier is actually a shop not bigger than 2 square meters and tall 1.30 cm, I will discover later and she was the proudest woman I’ve ever seen.
Gorèe is a tiny island. I mean, it’s really small; we discover it is only 900m for 300m. And yet, in this strip of land, there are tens if not hundreds of shops. It’s so lively, like every meter of the island is buzzing with life.
I discover that Gorèe, before being conquered by the French, was controlled by the Portugues and the British. Why? For the same reason this island is infamous: human trafficking.
I immediately fall in love with the statue in Gorèe. It’s not Donatello or Michelangelo and it’s tiny if you compare it to the statue of the renaissance in Dakar. No, it’s something else; something resonates deeper inside me. For instance, the drum on which the figure is based, called Djembe, was the most used means of communication among natives. Furthermore, the statue was built of equidistance between the House of slaves museum and a baobab.
So let’s speak about this omnipresent character in Senegal.
It seems like a Disney character, this giant tree that is always compared to sequoia for its size. It starts from a teeny tiny seed and reaches an XXXL height, but it isn’t that that attracts my attention. It strikes me that they decided to plant it in the centre of a village in the centre of the island. I mean, such an enormous tree can move all the houses around on such a small island with one of its roots: we’re speaking about a tree that can survive for 1000 years, not a tulip.
And they decided to plant it in the centre of such a small island.
Well, people from Gorèe aren’t stupid; they know the tree will grow, etcetera. Still, this particular tree has been elected as a father and mother of the community. It’s a warning not to forget their roots again.
You don’t believe me?
Well, here’s another story. Continue to read to know more.
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