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  • Currently in Yoff, Senegal

Sustainable Development in Senegalese Ecovillages!


Language Barrier!

Senegal Thiaroye, Senegal  |  Jan 05, 2009
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January 5, 2009.


            I have a lot of mixed-up feelings and frustrations being here, and I want to do justice to them all in words, but writing is a process that is like sand falling through my fingers. As soon as I put pen to paper, my ideas dissipate and dissolve in my head.


            Currently, I am sitting in a meeting with 5 of us representing GENSEN and SEM, and I AM ANGRY. There are 6 group leaders, actually 7 when I look around, maybe 8, because the person speaking now does not look like the ecovillage president we met yesterday. We have Mamadou Dieng, who we’re staying with here, also. That makes 14 people in this office. And it doesn’t even matter that I’m here. El Hadj actually just stated this, very (off-handedly) much a brushing off…


            I feel as though I’ve been thrown into an acrobatic trap of ropes and pulleys, boxed into corners, into situations that are awkward, that I don’t want to be in.


            It’s kind of like I have to accept that some things will never be understood, some things just won’t be translated; but it’s in many ways easier just to become exceedingly frustrated, animated, hyper-critical, and give up.



            Today, we had a meeting with the leaders of Thiaroye, and we had a very tense and heated beginning to to the (pre)meeting, but I kept running up against a brick wall of language barrier, with very little of my worries and concerns actually being understood and addressed. We’d agreed to each discuss one quadrant of the EDE diagram, but when it came time to discuss it, El Hadj described the whole thing and then told Jisselle and me it doesn’t matter if we help or not. We felt very irrelevant, unnecessary, unwanted, and excluded from the process, and though we expressed this, we were only met with misunderstanding and more impoliteness from the males.


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