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Neighborly behavior

Sénégalese people are known to do whatever they want or like no matter what. What only matters to them is that "gnu dem" ( they advance) as they say in my country. As long as they get what they want, the ends explains the means. For example, they might take a wrong way even on the highway if they are in a rush to get to work. They will not queue at the store but instead force their way in. They will park any way they want without thinking of the next car. 

That was not the case in the past. People were thoughtful and caring particularly between neighbors. They tended to keep the peace and even had nice relationships. For example, a woman would send lunch over to her next door neighbor. Or she could go and borrow sugar if she ran out. During events, she could borrow chairs from her neighbor or even her entire house if there were too many guests to fit into her own. Some neighbors became so close, they ended up being family. 


Blazer - thrifted 
Shirt - Max, India 
Jeans - gift
Loafers- M.G. road 
Bag (pictured below) - gift
Watch - gift 

However nowadays, people live like westerners. You barely know your next door neighbor. You barely great them when you pass them on the streets. Even worse, you live as if you are alone, making loud noises at indecent hours, laughing like a James Bond movie villain or banging on doors. That was the case with my downstairs neighbors before we moved.To be fair, we lived in the same house. He rented downstairs and we rented upstairs. Both flats have independent doors. But since our flat is pretty open with big windows giving into their garden, we could hear everything that is going on downstairs and I am sure they did hear us too. Yet they were too loud. They had younger kids who screamed instead of talking. Plus they liked to slam the doors. The adults had animated discussions particularly late in the night. Moreover they enjoyed loud music. It was driving us crazy. We  never complained and tried to make less noise. But there were times where we had to say something. One day they were so loud at 11 pm hat I had to shush them from my window. 

I thought I would have peace in my new neighborhood but I was wrong. We made the mistake to have a house next to an open field where the kids play soccer. It meant that every day, they would come in that field and play. The soccer matches itself do not bother us. It is the singing and drumming and the cheerings that go along with it, that gets on my nerve. One day they were banging so loudly that I had to say something. I asked them nicely to stop the noise or at least go bang somewhere else and they just laughed at my face. Could you believe it? Kids barely older than my own two boys were defying me. When I could not take it anymore, I took their makeshift drums (empty plastic bottles) and threw it away in an empty lot that was barricaded. It felt so great for a minute until they jumped the barricades, retrieved the bottles and started banging again. The week end, they started their concert again and this time my husband intervened twice; at first he was nice but when he realised they would not listen, he confiscated the tanks and put them inside the house. I think they got the message now.

When I lived abroad I have to admit that I was not always the best of neighbor. My vice is that I love to listen to music loudly. And some of my neighbors were not too happy about that. One of them completely lost it one day and banged so violently on the wall we shared that one of my framed photo fell and nearly broke. I banged back at the wall and infuriated, he came banging on my door. If not for my then boyfriend now husband it would have turned ugly because I was not ready to back down. Since then, I mature and now I use my headphones when I want to listen to music. When I get crazy neighbors I just think that it is karma and sigh.

Still I wish my Sénégalese people use common sense and think of others before thinking about themselves first. The other day the entire road leading to my place was blocked by a huge tent being build because somebody would be having a party the following day. I have nothing against people celebrating but when this celebration stops others from leading a normal life., it becomes a problem . I could not even go through with my car let along park in front of my place. I had to do a u turn, circle the entire block to go around and find a parking near my flat. And to top it all there was no warning, no excuse. My personal favorite (sacarsm) is when this neighbor organises religious chantings every friday that are so loud you can't barely here yourself think ( he uses a megaphone to blast the sound all over the street). And you cannot say a thing because it is religious. You complain and people will say that you are a non-believer.
 What ever happened to good behavior we were so proud of in our country?

As for myself, I am a poor neighbor. I like to keep to myself and would not like to entertain a relationship with my next door neighbor like my folks do ( particularly when those neighbors are the nosy,  always up in your business type).
 However I would greet them if I meet them on the streets. And I would try and disturb them as little as possible ( because since we all share a wall, I am pretty sure I will do something one day that will disturb them). That is the least I can do. And if every one did the same, my country would be a better place! 


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