The nice thing about traveling is that you have the opportunity to get to know other countries and people. All parts of the world have different traditions and customs. It is important to be open to these habits and to get to know the culture and history of a country. On Sunday, the delegation therefore went to Gorée Island, a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children who had been sold into slavery.
Culture and history are part of identity
At a first glance, it seems strange that a delegation from Germany dedicated to working with African partners in the field of green energy would make a stop on an island. But it is not as outlandish as it sounds. A country’s culture and history determine to a significant extent how people behave, how they think and how they feel. In a cooperation from which both partners are to benefit, it is therefore important to understand each other’s mindsets.
The island of Gorée, located off the coast of Senegal, near Dakar, is a monument that stands for a profound cut into the African soul: Slavery. It is considered that from the 15th to the 19th century, Gorée was the largest slave trading center on the African coast. Successively the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English and the French ruled the island. Very impressive is the contrast between the architecture of the gloomy slave quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders. Today the place serves not to forget this dark chapter of history and to value the awareness of the identity of African countries and their residents.
From history to the present
When exploring a country, however, history is not the only important element; the future is equally, if not more, important. The future is the young men and women around the world who are just beginning to plan their lives. Among them, of course, are the students of the International Master’s Program in Energy and Green Hydrogen (IMP-EGH). All students currently studying in Senegal in Track 3 Economics and Policies accompanied the delegation. Experiencing their perspective on life, the future and of course the current Master’s programme enriched the trip immensely. In this way, the history of the visited location was mixed with the students’ view of the present and future.
German Pünktlichkeit or African Serenity?
Summing up, there was one important lesson of the day: sometimes it takes active queuing to get ahead, and when that doesn’t work, composure helps. While waiting for the ferry that would take everyone back to the mainland, it became apparent that you can have wonderful experiences when things don’t work out as punctually as planned after all. The rather reluctant, wait-and-see approach to the ferry dock resulted in extra time spent on Gorée Island that had not been planned. In other words, the ferry was full, as sometimes you do have to jostle a bit if you want to get a seat.
The extra time gained, however, led to the fact that in addition to the guided tour, in the morning, there was also a little time for strolling and looking on your own.
More articles on this topic:
Imparting knowledge, getting closer to people, discovering foreign countries: https://blogs.fz-juelich.de/impactandchange/2022/10/28/imparting-knowledge-getting-closer-to-people-discovering-foreign-countries/?lang=en
International cooperation as a carrier of hope: https://blogs.fz-juelich.de/impactandchange/2022/11/01/international-cooperation-as-a-carrier-of-hope/?lang=en
Internationality at it’s best or achieving great goals together: https://blogs.fz-juelich.de/impactandchange/2022/11/03/internationality-at-its-best-or-achieving-great-goals-together/?lang=en
Road trip in African style: https://blogs.fz-juelich.de/impactandchange/2022/11/05/road-trip-in-african-style/?lang=en