Papa Ibrahima is from Dakar in Senegal (West Africa). He is a PhD candidate at Cheikh Anta Diop University and a Cambridge facilitator. He has also been the former head of the French Department at Sadhbhavana World School, Kerala.
Papa Ibrahima enjoys wring and has published two articles in Senegal - the first one on Covid-19 and the second one on Democracy and African Head of States. In this article written by Papa Ibrahima, he shares his experience working in India.
From class ten, when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was - a writer. In high school, I used to write poems and short stories. At University, I had the privilege to be the Chief Editor and was supposed to collect articles and proofread them. I cherish reading and wring because I found nothing more delightful than telling or being told a story. Indeed, this short article intends to share some beautiful lessons along with my life experiences in India as a Cambridge Facilitator, after almost four years at Sadhbhavana World School.
My journey to India started in 2017, and I did not know what my future would be. All I knew about India was about the city of Mumbai and the capital Delhi, which I learnt about, from my social science teacher. So what was important to me was to get to know Indian people and their culture. I reached my destination, Calicut International Airport – India, on a Monday morning and all was strange to me at first sight. On my way to my hostel, I saw something I had never seen before- a completely green environment, men wearing ‘lungis’, and so on. The same day, around 10 am, one of the neighbours who later became a friend, took me to a famous hotel named ‘Variety’. There, it was another story. When I entered the place, people started staring at me, calling me all kinds of names some would call me a football player, others used Malayalam words to call my name and I vividly remembered the word ‘ji’. Aer having a ‘dosa’ for the first me at the hotel, I met another group of young people who wanted to take some pictures of me without my consent. I was nervous and overwhelmed, but I looked at them and walked away.
So, India was completely different to me and I started feeling homesick after a few days. One Saturday, out of the blue, I had to meet the CEO of the institution. With his hospitality and his great sense of generosity, I got to know his point of view that life is a challenge and I had to bear my cross. Once I was out of his office, I was more confident and happier. From that day onwards, I never felt like a foreigner in India. I felt like I belonged here. Fortunately, some weeks later, I met a few friendly people who would invite me to the playground for football matches or tea pares. Aer a few months, I managed to keep up and everything went well. I enjoyed the spicy foods, Indian festivals, people in my school and India as a whole. Aer some years, I started seeing the beauty of incredible India with its lovely capital, New Delhi.
Socially, Delhi is famous for its lovely food. I am grateful to many people there, and specially one lady who works with the UN staff. She is such a kind person who helped me a lot. In a nutshell, for almost 4 years; I have seen India as a country of religious diversity, a community that respects everyone no matter the religion one believes in. I have seen people proud to be who they are. I have also learnt from India that, family matters. It is their top priority. Friendship is also a very important to them. We can see people sing together and sharing with their friends. Also, India does not just value money, instead they value human beings. As a whole, let’s say that India is worth vising. It is a wonderful country full of tradition and culture, especially Kerala - God’s own country.
This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine November 2021 edition.