October 1993, Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.
It was my first year in Secondary School in “Lycée Lamine Gueye” in Dakar. It was my first taste of autonomy, where I could go to school far from home and without my parents’ supervision.
I had to take the “Sotrac” bus from Dieupeul Terminal to Dakar Plateau, where I used to see the glimpses of big houses behind closed fences.
This is where I met Ansou, Woury, Seydou and Daba and some other people that were my core group of friends.
At that time, we didn’t know that we would become friends for life and that our journey would bring us from a public school with broken windows in Dakar to France, Italy and other western countries.
Meet Ansou, one of my best friends in life.
He’s living in Italy now after a challenging journey. We don’t speak that often over the phone. Yet each time we speak, he’s always positive and teasing me for not calling that often. While people were recovering from their celebration of the new year’s eve, Ansou learned that his father passed away in Dakar, Senegal.
He shared the sad news with me and he told me that he will leave Italy to go to Dakar, Senegal to say goodbye to his beloved father.
Ansou is going through his Winter season in life in the beginning of 2020.
Meet Woury, one of the most mysterious friends in my life.
Woury is now living in Toulouse, in the south of France. We speak often. When he was young, he was fascinated by the magic of flying. He managed to come to France, to do his engineering studies with his own challenges.
Now he’s working in Airbus, he’s happily married and became a father last year. He has his own challenges both personally and professionally. Yet he’s wealthier than he could ever have imagined. Health being the ultimate wealth for him.
Woury is going through his Summer season in life in the beginning of 2020.
Meet Seydou, the most positive friend I’ve ever had.
Whenever I picture Seydou in my mind, I see his smile. Seydou is the kind of friend that you won’t speak to for years. And once you call him, he will not start to complain about why you did not call him. He will act as if you talked to him yesterday.
Seydou’s father is in Dakar. He had some brain related health issues. He decided to go to a hospital in Dakar and has brain surgery to help solve the issue. Unfortunately nothing went as expected. Now he’s totally incapicated and blind. He has lost most of his adulthood memories.
Seydou is trying to bring his father to France to help me get back what is left of his life.
Stroke by what his father has become, Seydou is going through a transformation process where he’s questioning what is the meaning of his life.
Seydou is going through his Autumn season in life in the beginning of 2020.
Meet Daba, one of the many African women with more grit that I’ve ever seen.
She’s living in the North of France with her family. The last time I went to visit her, we hadn’t seen each other for more than 7 years. The last time we saw each other was in Paris in 2013 to celebrate our 20 years of friendship. She shared with me some choices that she had to make in her life.
She has a lot of projects both personally and professionally. She has planted a lot of seeds and now she’s harvesting the fruit of her labor.
Daba is going through her Spring season in the beginning of 2020.
Through the four stories above, you can see that Ansou, Woury, Seydou and Daba are not in the same seasons of life in the beginning of 2020.
Yet they have similar journeys in their life. They were born in Africa, they migrated in Europe and had to make their own path.
What strikes me, when I talk to them, is their resilience and positive attitude towards life. We are here for each other. Those who are in the summer try to bring their support to those who are going through winter. The spring and autumn people also support each other.
In the span of our life, we will go through the cycle of the four seasons, sometimes more often than once a year.
What has helped me personally is to be surrounded by people who support each other, no matter in which season they are.
The stories above reminds me of one speech from Steve Job in the 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose.” Steve Jobs
Be it Ansou’s father, Seydou’s father, all that matters today is how they lived and how they will be remembered by their loved ones or how their loved ones can make them remember their life.
No matter which season you are going through, know that it will pass. Surround yourself with people of all seasons.
And don’t try to only stay stuck in one season, because it will change eventually.
As my GrnaPa used to day: “ You have to go through the rain to see the rainbow.”
In which of the four seasons are you right now?
What’s your favorite season and why?
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You can read my previous article on What’s the ultimate FAITH in life?