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Ingekort dagboek Sabine:

Every day I learn something new, I see something unusual or get a better understanding about how things go and what it means to people.

This second day was no different. Today we would meet the women we would stay with for the homestay. As we saw the colourful women slowly enter the Bwiam Lodge, I noticed one strong yet intimidating woman. Of course it was no surprise that she drew my straw out of the cup. 

As turned out, Ndey is indeed a strong yet caring women. In 2001 her husband had passed away and she has no relatives furthermore so it is completely up to her to take care of her 4 daughters and their children. She works in a slow and tough business, selling food aside the highway. That is all she can do with the resources she has. 7 days a week, she and her daughters work around the clock. 

When we arrived at her home, one of the chickens had escaped. So we were all chasing and running after it. When captured I hold it at its claws. “Now what?” I asked naive. Well, it is traditional to eat chicken when you have special guests, they replied. So late that evening I was chewing on that same, not so lively, chicken and they were all too keen to remind me of it... 

Although I had been afraid to miss out on their routing in the morning since I am anything but a morning person, the rooster made sure that I was wide awake at 4:00 AM. Early as a bird. Still I laid down for a bit, until I realized that what I really wanted to do was connect with them and learn from them in despite of the language barrier. When I came outside, they had just started cooking. I joined them and followed any instruction Ndey gave me. Before I knew it, they were telling me “Lekker Lekker is cooking”. The night before I explained them that “Lekker” means “nice” in Dutch. In some poor attempts I was trying to say “abarakaa or abracadabra” in their language (thank you), but they understood just fine. We ended up dancing as we celebrated that the daughter didn’t have to cook the food for a change but “Lekker Lekker” was doing it.

Once we got back at the Bwiam lodge, we reflected on our experiences. When seeing all these women with great hearts and good intentions, and looking one of them in the eyes for a whole minute, I could not help but shred some tears. Not because I was sad, but because I saw strength and I was hoping that I could help them somehow too.

So in short: Yes, all those many impressions were impressive.
Realizing knowledge is empowerment and that I am happy to be here.