Alex Sarr comes from Senegal and, here in Italy, is working in the field of sustainable tourism.
Did you manage to make your dreams become true by coming to Italy?
I’ve always been a dreamer. Since when I was young I always wanted to travel, to go and get to know other parts of the world. So that, at the age of 18 I decided to quit my job and to go abroad, astounding my parents. I’m still the same person of that time, I’ve met so many people during my path and I’ve experienced happy and hard moments. A lot of my dreams have become true, but I’m still curious about discovering the world and helping people to change it. My journey keeps on going and I’ll never interrupt it. I couldn’t act differently, I’m a traveler, I’m Elajhi.
What are you doing in Italy?
The Italians who want to discover Africa are in some ways forced to use those conventional touristic circuits which don’t represent a real encounter with Africa. Of course even Malindi is Africa, or Zanzibar, but I think that is very reductive to see just this part of the continent. So I thought about something to let people get to know my part of Africa, it means Senegal, and I started to deal with sustainable tourism. I started with the willing to spread an idea about Africa which is different from the way in which it is always shown. Normally Africa is seen as the place of the emergencies, of needs, of desperation. On the contrary I’ve tried to arrange the trips I propose grounding them on the encounters between people.
Which is your contribute to the development of the country in which you live?
I’m part of the Onlus “Chiama l’Africa”, an association which tried to talk about Africa in a different way, which didn’t just propose a sort of solidarity grounded on the helps, but wants to let people know Africa for its potentials and positivity. I remember the slogan we invent when we started “Africa can”…a lot of years before Obama. For me it was a new opportunity which made me discover another time my continent.
Which is your contribute to the development of your country of origin?
I knew that in Pikine – in Dakar metropolitan area – some old friends of mine were committing themselves for the development of the area and I thought about participate and collaborate with some of their projects. What is interesting at most is that we didn’t thought about those projects grounding them about their needs, we didn’t build up a project from above, but we had met the communities first and then we started a dialogue with them. In the end, we decide how to arrange the project. The one which keeps on being successful even now is the scholastic adoption of female children. The Senegalese government hadn’t given loans for public education for a couple of years and the project originated from this need in 2003.
At the beginning we thought we would have dealt just with the primary school, but then we decided we would have followed the educational path of the girls until the secondary school. Even Pikine mayor understood that this is something important and innovative and then I was elected honorary citizen and special counselor.