Introduction to Senegal
Senegal is often called the ‘land of teranga,’ and 'teranga' is the Wolof word for hospitality. And hospitality is really important to the Senegalese. If you are visiting someone’s home, they will bend over backwards to make sure that you are comfortable and that you have everything that you need. Part of this is manifested in the fact that if you go to anybody’s house at any time and they’re eating or sharing a meal, you will be invited to eat with them. If you come over and they want to show good hospitality, they will immediately send a child out to go and get a cold Coke, or whatever, from the little shop in the neighborhood and bring it back for you. They will bend over backwards to make sure that you have a good experience in their house.
There are a couple things that people need to be aware of with hospitality. So, for example, if you are in someone’s house, and Americans, we’re taught ‘always compliment your host,’ or ‘compliment their home,’ say, ‘Oh, what a lovely home. What a lovely whatever.’ But this can backfire. A lot of times if you say something like, ‘Oh, I love that painting on the wall.’ They will take the painting off the wall and give it to you, because they want to show you good hospitality.
In this video, a Senegalese expert discusses the hospitality culture in Senegal.