too shy shy en

Mid February, I’ve been in Senegal for 1 year now. It’s time for a look backward. February 2008 I landed the Leopold Sedar Senghor airport of Dakar full of enthusiasm, happy to have reached this step. I was satisfied of the instruments I have purchased, my bank credit was comfortable, I was feeling the sweet euphoria that one could have felt as a kid the last day of school before the summer break. Nothing have been consumed everything is possible. I remember to have been very confused when, still a child I saw on TV, a great traveler reporting that the best moment of his trips, was in the airport, before leaving. Of course it wasn’t my first time in this country, but it was the first time that I was leaving France for long. First time I was going away from my children for long. My codes and standards, my sense of humor, my habits, and my references are European or Occidental and I was on the verge of confronting them until their foundations. First I shared my cousin’s room in a working class area, during almost 2 months. I knew this zone already, and a lot of people there. They looked at me as a lunatic walking all day long from one office to another. “Man, if you don’t rest a bit, the sun will kill you!”. I was trying then to fix my resident situation, and it took so long that I understood the whole project was going to be a hell of a battle. The following times haven’t denied. 10 months in Dakar!  I felt like a soldier doing his training before to be sent to the battlefield. I first hated the whole city, over crowded, over polluted, full of dirt, filth and bad smell, with the most arrogant posers I’ve ever seen. There are much more luxury cars than in Paris, big American cars, almost buses, gigantic Hummers fond of gasoline, driven on tired roads full of holes and beggars. I was eager to leave; I stayed. I saw tough life: unemployment on a great scale, corruption, violence, bad diseases, everyday lies to get a little money, I saw robberies and the brutal justice of the street respond. And I saw civilization, values based on nature, courage, mutual aid, great pride, mental strength, will, self-sacrifice, and deep faith in life and in gods. I learned a lot and I almost liked it.


Dakar was for me like a purgatory, a blend of the northern and the southern world permanently fighting each other, eternally envying each other. Here in Ziguinchore, a new chapter has begun. I must admit that the time I’ve spent in Dakar is very useful now, as it actually helps me to quickly blend myself in the town. Here Europe and France are really far away. Here people have no watch but they have plenty of time, and I try to learn from them to stop running behind time, but to make an ally of it.


Life made me a surprise this very particular week of anniversary. 3 former schoolmates I haven’t seen for ages have contacted me separately. The 3 of them were in the same class, the last class I attended before I threw myself in the turmoil of life. Weird! Each one has its own message. First I received an e-mail from Lilymaya on myspace, strange nickname that brings together the symbols of power and illusion. Lily was one of the smartest between all of us. I liked her very much although I was a bit impressed and shy to her. She recently has won her struggle against cancer. She’s now a gorgeous and radiant woman, the same mocking eye plus an overall aspect of serenity. Photographer, she’s now experiencing the everyday happiness, I guess she’s good as usual. While I was dreaming that faith in life was the key, she’s done it.

The day after, a new message from Christian on myspace, one of the figures of the class, he was joyful and communicative. I was very glad to recognize the same pure smile, he’s not changed very much, and he’s kept the freshness of his youth and seems happy with his job. He’s now a DJ for Radio France, he’s living on the Reunion island, but he’s now at the crossroad of his life, has new projects, and a new love.

Last but not least Nathalie has wrote to me yesterday. I have chills just to write down her name, that was the love of my adolescence. She was very pretty; she was always addressing her shy smile to everyone, a very nice person. I remember when I invited her to see a movie. I was so happy after her yes; I almost levitated. We spent a wonderful day the two of us on the Champs Elysées, but I was too shy to go further. It was passionate and intense but it remained platonic, the story of my life. Another e-mail from her tonight where she says that she had the same feelings toward me... too shy shy, hush hush, eye to eye, said the hit single at that time. She has now two children of 15 and 19 years old and she’s living in the south of France.

But the most mysterious thing is that she’s connected on the Internet only for a few days, and the first day she was starting to surf, was the day I created this blog… Weird, so weird! Self-confidence and faith in life is sure the key, I get the message. I remained loyal to my vocation but I must now be plainly faithful to life and to love.


“ When talk of change has come to one's ears three times, and has been pondered well, he may believe and acquiesce in it. Then he will meet with belief and will accomplish something.”  Said the I ching.

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