I was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1990. But most of my childhood age I spent living in the south with my auntie and uncle. I have been visiting my parents and the rest of my five brothers and sisters weekly. After finishing high school I was planning to enrole the university but things have suddenly changed in my life; I guess destiny had different plans for me. I left Senegal when I was 19 years old and came to Croatia in July 2014. The next eight months I was accommodated in Porin, shelter for asylum seekers and when it got approved I moved to Borongaj.
While staying in Porin I have met some people from the Centre for Peace Studies with whom I have been talking about cooking and food and they presented their Taste of Home project. I have joined this project because I really love to cook, share recipes and meeting new people. I have stayed with Taste of Home since then and it is my family now. When this project evolved to a cooperative I didn't hesitate to become a co-founder. I've put my share in it and have been working on most activities relentlessly, especially in catering business.
For me Taste of Home is a story of unity, joining effort for a common cause which brings good for everyone, not only our members but also Croatian society in general. We want to show that there is no place for fear towards foreigners in this country, that we are all equal and all we need is the right opportunity.
In our kitchen I gladly prepare rice dishes, couscous, variety of veggie dishes and especially fish, just like in my country. I learned cooking from my mother, in my early ages. For me the first motivation to spend my time in the kitchen was helping my mother with preparation of food and cleaning, since she was really having her hands full talking care of a rather large family. So I did my part of helping and during the process got drawn to cooking and the creativity that went along with it. Soon, I took over a share of cooking duty and here I am today, having the opportunity to share my traditional food with more people. It makes me happy. And when I cook at my place I usually share it with friends because I really don't like to eat alone.
With the support of Taste of Home cooperative I have managed to receive a formal education for a chef, because I believe that we can always do better in the kitchen and it is good to have a diploma. Considering the language I can say I understand a lot but I struggle a bit with speaking. What has helped a lot was enrolling the croatian language course for some time but what I'm hoping for is to improve my language skills through everyday communication. My native language is Wollof and I speak French, English and Greek.
Since I really enjoy running and playing football I am more than happy to say that I'm the part of a football team Zagreb 041, an independent and democratic club which among locals also gathers asylants and asylum seekers. With my membership in this club I can enjoy two hobbies I love and I have made some wonderful new friends there. Anyway, my days are pretty filled with cooking, football and studying so if I have some free time I usually spend it in the company of my friends.
Although I deeply miss my family, friends and my homeland I can say I am glad that my journey led me to Croatia. I have a job, I'm surrounded with good people and I don't feel some of the hardship I'm listening about from other foreigners I meet, the asylants and the ones who seek protection here. It is always hard for me to hear miserable stories so I feel like I myself have a mission to help in any way I can. Through Taste of Home I have the opportunity to do exactly that.