Carina Figueiredo reflects on her trip to Senegal 3 months on.
After three months of being back from my Senegalese Trip, a lot has changed.
For a while that I have been interested in sustainability and eco problems, as a person I consider myself, self-aware and responsible for my choices as a consumer.
Having the chance with DPS of going through such a radical experience by visiting Dakar, St. Louis, Casamance and Thies along with an amazing international group, was from far a once in a lifetime experience, a bucket list wishes crossed, a chance to live an African experience with eyes of local.
I was expecting to acquire, traditional and hand-made technique skills from all the Artisans that had an open door at their home for us; a tea ready to be drunk, and a pile of pillows ready for us to seat in the most comfortable place of the house.
Senegal was such an inspiring and rich experience, being able to see how happy they live their life’s, and how easily they give to someone that they know that has more material position than them, and even though they will give you the little they have just to make you feel welcome. It was a life lesson.
I remember when walking in all the different places how the thing that shocked me the most was the trash, on the streets, on the beach, in goats mouth, underneath my feet’s, was everywhere… In one of the days, while we were visiting Maison des Esclaves (House of slaves) in Gorée Island, after an emotional intense visit, we spent some time on the beach of the island. It was small, but full of loudly and funny children’s, After spending such an amazing time with the kid’s, water bottles and water bags were notable everywhere on the beach, something that was ruining my wonderful experience, because, in the end, I couldn’t understand why would they leave there, there were bins in the exit of the beach, there was no reason to float next to trash. This was when I decided to grab a bin bag and start collecting all the plastics, I wanted to see there reaction, what would it happen after that? Would it create any impact? Or make any difference.
In the end, it didn’t make sense for them, they couldn’t understand why was I doing it, but incredibly made all the sense for me; I remember while I was collecting it, there was this kid that looked at me, finished is water and drop the bag on the floor. After all, I couldn’t judge him everyone was doing it, the couple years of life he had he always has seen trash as something that was all right to trough on the floor.
After having a talk with one of the locals that were introduced to me, she explains to me that they know one ever told them how prejudicial it was. It’s like Maslow’s pyramid of needs if they don’t have access to a basic need, how can they be aware of secondary obligations?
Another day, in a different beach the same scenario got repeated; trash everywhere, people would through dirty liquids on the water where children’s would bath.
I started analyzing what was in the piles of trash and buried in the sand, easily you could identify things that didn’t belong there, mostly plastics, trash that was coming from us, from Europe, dragged by the flow of the waters.
As I got back to London, I was angry, I had straight to change it, this plastic problem was everywhere, I was making me so unstable by wanting to buy food and everything, everywhere has plastic.
Here was what it started, the more see the more I will want to learn, I have been since then trying to consume the least plastic possible. I started looking for artists, designers, and activists, people that were doing something to change this worldwide problem. I’m part of it now, I’m doing the best I can and know to share this knowledge… I have been working with plastics and getting to know this once precious material, that is killing our planet and us.
Soon, hopefully, you will see more about it, about plastic, about Melt it.