Damanhur has a sister community relationship with Guede Chantier, an eco-village in Senegal. This relationship has existed since 2014, when Ousmane Ali Pame, a university professor in Dakar and then mayor of Guede, came to visit Damanhur with Hamet Thiam, head of agricultural development throughout the region in Senegal.
Since then we have taken action to honor this sister community relationship, and in 2016 two Damanhurians went to Guede with the objective of sharing with the women of the village our experience in food conservation.
Pellicano and Macaco left from Damanhur with a great sense of initiative, and above all a device that is essential for conserving tomatoes. They came back eight days later, their eyes shining with excitement and they told us that the week they spent in Guede was one of the most enriching experiences of their lives, because helping those who are really in difficulty changes your life forever.
In Guede, as in many other villages in Senegal, they have an abundance of food for two to three months a year. Tons of vegetables are thrown away, and then they have eight or nine months of famine and serious malnutrition problems.
At the beginning of the course, there should have been 12 women from Guede participating. Then the word spread and in the end, 52 women from five different villages participated. At the end of the course, they started an organization in order to conserve large quantities of food together, also thanks to the device that was left with them as a gift from Pelicano. This autumn we will return to Guede to repeat the course with other women of the villages who have not yet participated, and to lay the foundation for another project about the reforestation of Guede, to be developed together with Ousmane.
In the 1930s, the entire region was a tropical forest where lions and elephants lived. Later the French government cut everything to the ground to use the land for agriculture. Today, the project of replanting trees is essential for maintaining a climate that is suitable for combating the advancing desertification.
If you have read this article and it has touched you, and you would like to help the women and men in Senegal to improve their quality of life, please do write to us!
Maybe you can also join us on the next mission to Senegal!