Monday, May 9, 2011

Senegal through my Eyes by Aissata Barry of the HER Project

The HER Project supported El Movimiento's Night of Resistance event. The event was a fundraiser for the youth who are doing amazing things in bringing awareness to the importance of Ethnic Studies. Please visit the site at

Our own HER Project Leader Aissata Barry presented a short piece on her home country of Senegal. We were all moved by her confidence, strength and search for truth.

We share her piece with you.


The area that today is Senegal once was part of the West African
Empire. the word Senegal originally came from a Senegalese word (SUNU
GAL) MEANING our dugout canoe" (everyone is in the same boat). When
the Europeans came to Senegal centuries ago trying to take over, the
natives of Senegal were afraid of them because of their skin colors
and thought of them as witches or some evil spirits, hence when the
white man approached them to find a way of communication, the natives
began to shout (lii sunu gal la) (these are our dugout canoes). for
this reason, the Europeans began to call the territory Senegal.
Senegal also has many important historical places which existed since
the triangular slave trade.
the most visited and known place in Senegal LILE DE GOREE
also known as Goree Island (Ile de Goree) is a small island just off
the coast of Dakar, Senegal's sprawling capital city. Goree Island is
a big tourist attraction because of its history as a major
slave-trading center. It's an important destination for
African-Americans in particular who come to pay their respects and
reflect upon their ancestors' past. In fact the Maison des Esclaves
(House of Slaves) on the island has become a place of pilgrimage for
everyone to reflect upon the horrors of the slave-trade and remember
the millions of souls who died because of it. this place is also known
as (maison dentree sans retour) meaning house of entrance without
Senegal is a country rich in musical values and the number of
occasions that are used to gather around the "griots" or clapping your
hands and sway your hips in rhythm delights a public often very
numerous. Each ethical group has his music and his instruments that
are their own. the most famous musical instrument in Senegal is the
sabar. The sabar was used to communicate to other villages. The
different rhythms correspond to phrases and could be heard for over 15

some Senegalese proverbs that motivates me are:

A tree that grows in the shade of another one will die small.
If a centipede loses a leg, it does not
prevent him from walking.

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