Going back to Africa: the realities and the obstacles

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 Going back to Africa: the realities and the obstacles 


Last November, I returned to my home country Senegal, I had not set foot in the country since 2005, and I knew that many things would have changed since my last trip. Living in Toronto, don’t allow me to go that often to Africa.

I went to Africa to present my first conference on education 2.0 and languages, but also to spend time with family and especially to reconnect with my roots.

I had a great apprehension even before I left, and I was under a great deal of pressure on the conference I was preparing. However, returning to Africa to present a conference, I could not ask for more!

It is with the organization Equarox Foundation, in collaboration with Give1Project who sponsored me to go to Senegal. A few days before my departure, I even had stomach cramps!


In Senegal

When I landed, everything changed. In 2005, I left an underdeveloped country with little infrastructure, but when I went back last November so many things have changed especially the large number of NGOs in Senegal, and probably that Senegal hosts the most significant number of NGOs and international organizations.
At the level of the population, half of the young people I met are studying. Moreover, the entrepreneurship sector is booming.

With a high demand for education in Africa, my conference on visual literacy has attracted not only students but also school teachers and local politicians. During the conference, I explained the importance for schools to integrate a bilingual education (French + regional languages). Indeed, several studies show that learning two languages at a young age favors the process of memorization. This also makes it easier to learn other languages, because the brain is used to passing from one language to another.


What is Give1Project?

Give1Project is an organization present in more than 75 countries active in the development of young people and communities around the world. Founder Thione Niang also worked with Barack Obama.


What is Equarox Foundation?

Equarox Foundation is an American-Senegalese organization that aims to help communities to gain access to better education through training and project funding. To find out more about them go to their Facebook page and to see more photos about my workshop in Pikine.


The realities and the obstacles

Even though my stay was relatively pleasant, I sometimes felt disconnected from my own country as if I’m not there. When I went out, I did not need to talk, and people noticed right away notice that I was not from here. When I got out of the car to go to the HLM market, the sellers approached me automatically, either in French or English, as if he assumed that I did not speak Wolof. Or when I was talking in Wolof and people were saying to my face, “ ki loumou wax, duma lakk toubab’’ translation “What are you saying, I do not speak the language of whites people.”

I was coming home quite frustrated at not being able to speak with people in my language. This was not the case of a Moroccan friend who could make mistakes or talk a few words in Wolof. It was also at that moment that I understood the frustration of the conference in China, a Franco-Laotian for whom it was taken for a Chinese who was shouting when she spoke English but I with the little Chinese that I had spoken Chinglish (a mixture of Mandarin and English).

In Toronto, my home it is very fast paced and most of us have that GO GO GO mentality where time is a rare and precious commodity. It’s the opposite that I found in Senegal especially in business, but also the fact of being an outsider. No one is waiting for you in Africa; they made me understand it. A month in the country has undoubtedly helped me reconnect with my roots, but it was not enough to build real relationships. Everything was happening too fast.



This trip has given me the need to leave more often and especially the strength to work on other projects that are close to my heart. I will share more of them this year in 2018;). I want to thank my sponsors Equarox Foundation and Give1Project for collaborating with LaPolyglotte.

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  1. The Media Entertainer – TME says:

    That’s awesome. Home language is very important.

  2. François Saip Sy Touré says:

    Veuillez recevoir mes sincères félicitations à vous Khady Ndoye et à votre équipe.
    Félicitations aussi à Give1Project.
    Aujourd’hui le Sénégal en particulier à réellement besoin du soutient et de l’accompagnent de cette structure en l’occurrence Give1Project qui par son ouverture et son programme qui vise à aider et améliorer les conditions de vie de certaines très vulnérables .
    En effet les populations seront heureux et très impatients de vous recevoir afin de bénéficier des programmes et avantages de Give1Project.
    Bien à vous .
    À bientôt

  3. abdoul aziz gueye says:

    Congratulation sister we were really pleased of your coming in senegal and your sharing of knowlegde. We just ask to come back again and share your knowlegde whith the othets. Thanks alot. Abdoul aziz gueye president of students and pupils of west of pikine/dakar/senegal

    1. Khady says:

      Thank Abdoul for your support!

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