Teranga: a wolof word that can translates into hospitality. More than that, it is a concept, a state of mind, the values of sharing and solidarity as a way of life. Senegal is proudly nicknamed the country of Teranga; travel photographer and blogger Sabria Djafar (@allaroundthegirl) could not agree more. For the last few years she has been travelling around the globe and is a strong advocate for slow travel. When she decided to visit Senegal, she instantly fell in love with its people and culture. She spent a total of five months in the country, enjoying the warm welcome, taking in the different rhythms, learning about history. Her photographs invite us along her Senegalese experience, that she would describe by these words:
Reconnection, gentleness and authenticity
Sabria wandered through the exuberant Dakar. Bustling with activity and dizzying traffic, the capital of the country is full of lively markets with fresh produce abound, street food stalls, ambulant vendors, and a rich cultural offer. It is not uncommon to come across a herd of goats in the streets, like in the Medina neighbourhood, one of the most traditional areas of the town. A little bit north of the city the village of Ngor is the opportunity for a soothing getaway: only a few minutes away by boat for locals and tourists to escape on the tiny island of Ngor. Right on the beach await several little restaurants offering local meals and freshly grilled fish. Feet in the sand, under a colourful parasol, it was the perfect location for Sabria to enjoy a day or a quiet evening.
Another island easily accessible from Dakar, Goree, welcomes the traveller in a peaceful car-free environment. Among pastel-hued houses, narrow streets are filled with flowers and serenity. Yet Sabria was deeply moved by the visit of a particular pink building: the Slaves House and its Door of No Return that opens on the ocean, a highly symbolic place in the slave trade and world history. But nowadays, the beachfront of the island is an invitation to stroll and gather at sunset, gazing at the reflection of the star on the tranquil waves.
Heading north on the coast of the country, Sabria travelled to Saint Louis, former capital at the mouth of the river Senegal. She discovered colonial and coloured architecture. Although one of the biggest cities in the country, she was surprised by the calm atmosphere that contrasted with the tumultuous Dakar.
The place that definitely conquered Sabria’s heart is a small fishing village by the name of Toubab Dialaw, about 50km south of Dakar. When she found herself in the capital on the eve of the Covid-19 lockdown, getting in the way of her travel plans, she did not hesitate and went back to where she felt at home.
My 3 months spent in Toubab Dialaw were fabulous. I was immediately surrounded by kind people in a hearty and unpretentious atmosphere. The natural energy that was reigning in this village made me feel good.
The beach is a central spot in the life of the village. A base for the fishermen, but also a meeting point in the morning and late afternoon for sport amateurs. Senegalese wrestling is a major national and traditional sport and wrestlers train in the sand. Women walk on the beach, trays balanced on their head, to sell snacks: fatayas, deep-fried pastry filled with fish, but also fruits like the mad. This hard shell fruit with big seeds opens at the top, and sugar, salt or chili are added to its pulp.
As the muslim celebration of Ramadan occurred during her stay, every night Sabria was invited by families to break the fast. A haven of rest and conviviality during these pandemic times, to Sabria, Toubab Dialaw was the epitome of the famous senegalese teranga...
Sabria Djafar was born in France to an Algerian father and a Hispano-Italian mother. She shares her travel experiences through her photographs and words on the blog www.allaroundthegirl.com Now focusing on empowerment, she goes to meet women all over the world to portray them while they reveal their hopes and vision of happiness.