My mom would always say that she still wonders how they even went on a first date since he wasn’t speaking french, let alone Woloff the national dialect, and she certainly didn’t speak English accept singing James brown or Michael jackson lol.
She went to the dinner with her cousin and best friend, who luckily for my mom had stayed in school and had learn to speak English. She will became my godmother, she will give me my name. When my father decide to marry my mom, he told my mom that after 4 years he would be going back home to the USA with her and children if they had any, but it was made clear by his parents that they could not accept his wife or kids. On my mother side, her family didn’t accept the proposition and didn’t bother to show up either. It was my parents, my godmother and her sister who was with her husband my Dad’s only friends.
As my mom would recall my Dad from that moment never let anyone belittled her, threatened her and that when I was born he kicked out many of her family members and friends. Like father, like daughter. If people that you love and care about are not with you when the hard times hit, the the good times can be shared either with them.
I was 2 years when they welcomed a baby boy, and because my godmother made fun of him at the hospital saying that her daughter ,me, was way more beautiful than the boy and my dad decided to give him her name. Thank you it was Andrée for her so André for him. When my brother turned 6 months, my Dad received some disturbing news from his family about his oldest daughter who went for taking drugs and hanging out with gangs. My mom remembers my father sleepless night, his tears, and his decision to move back home and be close to her. My mom who had never traveled told my father that she wasn’t ready to live in a country where for all she knew was going to reject her just like his family did. It was decided that I will be going with my father and that, may be seeing me, might have change his family’s mind.
The passport was done and the date was set for October 18th 1976.
Octobre 13th 1976 started like any other day, with my father heading to the embassy and my mom dropping me to the daycare and going to the market. She spend the day with my godmother getting their hair braided and shopping for our departures, my father and I. My father came home around 5, took a glass of JB like everyday after work, and took me out on my bike with our dog lily. When we came back, my mom said we found her sitting on the front porch and as I was playing with my Dad , a dove came flying in and my mom turned to my him asking for the word, I rolled my eyes at her and said ” come on mommy ! It is a bird”, and my mom remembered telling my dad that she was going to start going to school for English classes before I sell her out. Lol
She started dinner at 7 and my father when to lay on the bed , watching tv while waiting for it, and I was jumping on my father’s belly, when and this is me talking, and believe it or not, I can still see myself jumping on it, I remember him trying to reach for something on the table, and next thing you know we were both on the floor, on the side of the bed. When my mom came to tell us that dinner was ready, she found him on the floor and me crying and asking my dad to get up. She started getting mad at him for scaring me but when she stepped inside the room and saw my father laying there with his eyes rolled over the back of his head, she knew that her husband had left her and his children behind. She lost it, started screaming and leaving me in the room, ran outside , barefoot, alerting the neighbors. Lily our dog ran after her and was struck by a cab driver unfortunately. I hope she his protecting him for me.
When his family was made aware of the tragedy, they first ask the embassy to do an autopsy to make sure he wasn’t murder, which came back saying that he had an aneurysm, and after my mom fought with them to have him buried in Senegal, they send her a letter that I still read today, wishing her the best in life with her children and that they had sent 500$ to help her for the future. That was the last we ever heard from any of my father’s family. Their loss not ours.
The next four years of my life will go from bad to worst, as doors kept on being shut in our faces when my mom will seek shelter, the excuse being we were half-white and catholics, my godmother was still a college student, so her sister took us in for 3 years, without my mom because of the lack of room. My aunt struggled, being a divorced woman by then with 3 little kids, but it never stopped her from taking me and my brother while my mom was looking for work. Why we decide to leave after and move with my mom’s family, I don’t know but I was to learn really soon, how different I was from the other little kids, how I will be make fun off, pushed aside. It is amazing how at a young age, we already see our differences and instead of understanding and embracing it , we reject it and fight it.
My world went black went at 7 years old, I was repeatedly raped for months by a member of my family, being only rescued by my aunt when she heard me screaming 2 nights on the row. I have made peace with it , as I forgave him the day we were confronted in front of the whole family, and he denied it.
But now I have decided to speak up about abuse in my country Senegal. All around me, people are starting to come out and share they me too stories and they are only horror stories. I stopped crying when a couple of friends shared theirs, at 4 for her by her stepdad, at 8 for him from the neighbor. Enough is enough. My children and their children will live peacefully in our beautiful country without the boogeyman becoming a reality in their lives.