Formica Coriandolo

I knew that Pellicano was a smart woman, with a great talent for cooking and an innate taste for that simple but refined beauty that is expressed when, for example, she sets the table and leaves everyone speechless. I did not believe, however, that she would amaze me with her extraordinary ability to jump into challenging adventures as she has managed to do on this last trip to Senegal.

Pellicano a damanhurian woman havd participate to an initiative with our

We left in eight, of all ages and with different skills, at the service of Damanhur Education‘s second mission to Guede ‘Chantier, our twin community in Seegal. For Pellicano it was her second trip, after the first in 2016, where she had already taught 55 women from Guede ‘Chantier and the neighboring villages to transform food to store it in the seasonal months when it is scarce. At the end of the course she gifted the women of Guede an electric machine for making tomato sauce, so that they could continue to use it and teach others. This time we brought with us two other manual machines: one for Mauritanian women living in villages without electricity and the other for the women’s association which was created after the first course was held.

Pellicano with women of the Guédé Chantier community in Senegal

In Senegal women are important figures, full of energy and charisma. Pellicano worked among bright pots, jars, vegetables of all kinds and at times, seemed even more African than the locals. I saw her expressing a strength and a determination that literally overwhelmed me. In a hot climate, more than 40 degrees under the sun she worked beside the fire without giving up, without even stopping to eat, “because when you work, the first thing is to complete what you started” she told the men when they asked her if she wanted to stop during the hottest hours.

Pellicano cooking with people form the community of Guédé Chantier, Senegal

Pellicano is 67 years old and has spent a lifetime working in the kitchen. She first managed a family food preservation business and then a company with more than 50 people. Her enthusiasm and passion have led her to face any experience without missing a beat, despite the physical problems that she carries after an intense life of work. Even in Senegal she showed her tenacity and generosity. She planted small mango trees and became the idol of all African women to whom she transmitted an ancient and simple technique, so precious and fundamental to be able to feed the people of their villages. When they showed her the jars with the products they turned over the last year, I saw her eyes light up and a tear escaping her control.

Pellicano helps to plant mango plants for the reforestation of Senegal in the community of Guédé Chantier

Thanks to Pellicano, such an extraordinary woman with golden hands and a big heart, this journey has left me with the certainty, once again, that together we are a force and that the only limit to dreams is our imagination.

Formica Coriandolo