We start the year with good news: following our article published in the December issue and which we report below, the association
founded by Italian entrepreneur Paolo Lodigiani was contacted by an instructor interested in doing a stint in Senegal this summer. But let’s see what this is all about.
The African state of Senegal is discovering sailing thanks to the efforts of an Italian entrepreneur-Paolo Lodigiani. A challenge that began three years ago with the goal of introducing the young Senegalese generation completely unfamiliar with the sport to sailing for free. “Sénévoile (this is the name of the project)” – recounts Paolo Lodigiani – “is an idea born to Bringing a Senegalese team to the 2016 Rio Olympics., but mostly to try to give young Senegalese people an opportunity to learn to sail, an opportunity they obviously don’t have from an economic standpoint.”
VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTORS WANTED
Paolo Lodigiani’s school is located in Ndangane, a small village 150 kilometers south of Dakar on the delta of a desiccated river where the ocean has slipped in: these are protected waters, constantly buffeted by a breeze that is ideal for learning to boat. “The response has been unexpectedly excellent as the participation of the village children, we have managed to involve about 30 of them so far. I taught the first class in December 2013. We have ten Optimists, two Lasers, two Europa, eight 470s (partly provided by the Naval League of Milan and the Yacht Club of Como)”-Continues Lodigiani. – “The real problem is the instructors, because there is no one in Senegal who knows how to boat, there is no real recreational boating, there are only a few villages with boats for tourists. We also made an ad ‘Sailing instructor wanted,’ and many people showed up, being a country of high unemployment, but no one had ever been sailing. We brought in a Senegalese boy who had made a very good impression on us because he knew how to arm a laser, but as an instructor he left something to be desired; we kept him, and now he is much better thanks in part to the work of a nineteen-year-old Italian boy, Edoardo Borgia, who spent two months in Senegal as a volunteer: he did an outstanding job motivating the boys. We would need more people like him with a spirit of adventure and sailing knowledge who are willing to devote themselves to the cause for a couple of months. What we can offer is coverage of all expenses and a unique experience from a human point of view, because Senegalese people have a truly contagious joie de vivre.” He continues, “I have just returned from Senegal where we organized last weekend a beautiful regatta in Dakar, which is in fact, though not officially, the first Optimist championship in the country. Everything went very well: there was a fierce fight among the thirteen crews present, the students from our school dominated, and most of all there was a lot of celebration and fun for the Senegalese kids and, of course, for me and the audience who attended. If progress continues, it is possible that in 2015 we may be able to get some of our “champions” to come and race in Italy as well. We hope.”
Sénévoile is looking for young volunteers with sailing knowledge to serve as instructors at the Ndangane base. For more information you can visit www.voile-senegal.com or write to “bcademco @gmail.com.”