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"alna niking" means come and learn" in mandinka, one of the languages used in Senegal but also in Gambia, Mali, Guinea, and other West African countries bordering Senegal.

"alna niking" is an invitation to come and learn about the way of life and culture of the people in Casamance, South of Senegal.

The village I adopted and who adopted me over 10 years ago, Abene, is a peaceful and traditional village situated on the West Coast of Africa. Its artistic vitality mixes traditional African percussions and dance, crafts including woodcarving, traditional artefacts and batik fabric dying.

In winter the village wakes up from the rainy season with Abene Festivalo. This annual festival started over a decade ago and celebrates the beginning of the harvesting period in Casamance. It has been promoting the multi ethnicity of the West African coast by gathering artists performing traditional music and arts from different parts of Senegal and neighbouring countries. Mandinka, diola, sereres, karoninke, balantes, foulas and artists from other ethnic groups bring to the village a fantastic variety of sounds and colours which are drawn from their own specific tradition.

The region of Casamance is generally said to have the best climate in Senegal. Thanks to its tropical climate, you will be able to lie on an endless sand beach, swim in the beautiful sea or meet the friendly fishermen who bring fresh fish everyday.

However the characteristics of the region of Casamance is its lush vegetation which you will no doubt appreciate on long walks in the bush.

Its friendly and welcoming inhabitants will make you feel at home from the very first day of your visit. >

Copyright 2005 (L. Marie)