Caserta, Senegal

senegal, caserta
I get at the Dahira (Murid Association) “House of Serigne Touba” and I only know that there was a great party to welcome the nephew of Cheick Ahmadou Bamba, the highest religious authority and spiritual guide of the murid (Sufi Muslim confraternity of Senegal).

The ramadan has already begun for some days; I exceeded the first gate and I stand in front of a villa that it was brought with the grants of all the faithful; once it must have been a workshop. I can breathe the air of anticipation and excitement, but no one seems to be concerned, everyone knows what to do and they all keep themselves busy. Outside some people are cooking and some others are collecting offerings for the community while the children are running and playing everywhere.

It’s all quiet, the Serigne will come in the afternoon, Ishallah! The Murid devote their lives entirely to the neighbors and to the community, everything is shared and this contributes to a climate of peace. Inside, the space is huge, there are carpets everywhere, copies of the Koran are placed close to the microphones, there is a continuous distribution of papers with long prayers and greetings made in a low voice. The time is marked by various rituals: after the common prayer each one returns to his seat and keeps playing alone. All separated but all close at the same time, everybody does everything together.

I would like to make time passing faster because I seem to be the only one with hurry to meet the Serigne. No one is bothered or embarrassed by the camera. I am entarting myself witht the women working in the kitchen and every time I look around I have the feeling to be back in Senegal. The Dahira is an outpost in a foreign country and the flow of the faithful is continuous and constant. They come from all the Campania region and many more places. As the crowd increases I get back in the hall of prayers convinced that Serigne is coming but not yet, we still have to wait. His team precedes him , all the members have time and space for a speech. The mayor of San Nicola la Strada comes too for greetings.

I go on alert for anything; as the group start singing, women enter wearing a white suit or a traditional dress. I look around and obviously I’m turning my eyes on the wrong side. To my right a door opens. Suddently everybody are standying on their feet, there is a shower of flashs and smartphones to record the entrance. This event is repeated only once a year. Every disciple tries to carve out his space to convey his greetings to Serigne.

He will lead the afternoon prayers which will be followed by the speeches and blessings for the whole community. Serigne Mame Mor Mbacké, nephew of the great Ahamdou Bamba, must return to Rome to continue his journey across Europe. Life in this corner of the Senegal Campania will continue in memory of this day and waiting for the next visit .

About the author: 
Luca Rocchi was born in Caserta in 1990. He just graduated in Publishing and Journalism at “Università La Sapienza” in Rome. He’s reportage photographer and nude art lover.
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