Saturday 24th August 2019,

The Poetry of Toubab Dialaw – Senegal


I feel privileged to have stayed two nights at Germain Acogny’s JANT-BI Ecole des Sables. We travelled about 55km south of Point E in Dakar – from the Piscine Olympique Nationale where the Asiko group is based) – to the village of Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.

The sun throws gracefully on an arid landscape. Baobab trees, in austere majesty, firmly stand flaunting their thick sprawling limbs. Livestock graze freely on scattered vegetation – withered plants and dry grass on brown earth. Spongy rocks – debris from a volcanic eruption sometime in the history of this area – protrude from the ground suffocating plant life around them. 1km into the village is The Jant-Bi Ecole des Sables – the international village for cultural exchange through dance.

The environment and architecture of the Ecole is an unexpected pleasure. While here, my knowledge and experience in the built environment was radically altered. I formed a seamless transition in my movement through space i.e. moving through the barn, the bedroom (mud buildings referred to as ‘villages’), the outdoor bathroom, the dance studios, and the kitchen etc felt like there were no physical objects/boundaries – walls, buildings – between them. It all felt like a series of physically (and more interestingly, logically) coherent elements arranged in an environment—there was a sense of …continued


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