I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film


My name is Mathilde Gomis I am 21. I was born in Senegal. My parents are from Guinee Bissau and Senegal. I come from a very large family.


My father’s name is Gabriel, he is 80. My mother’s name is Therese she is the most beautiful women in the world, she is 54. The difference of age there is between them is normal. Back then the parents were the one who choose who their daughter would marry. There’s a tradition called “ kassara” that hardly exists nowadays. Some women would wear traditional clothes and would dance in front of a crowd. My father had just come back from France, that’s when he saw my mother dancing and the next day he went to her parents to ask them to marry her. Of course he wasn’t the only one to want to marry her but he was the one who was the most accomplished.

My father left for France for the first time in 1957. He was the first man that from our village that has ever traveled. My father came back every 2 years to Senegal to see us and every time he came back there was a party in the house and we were very happy. Our house was filled with people. I love those moments. I love having the family in my house


… I like when there are lots of people around me. My father was a big mason in Marseille. He was the first black person in Marseille, he always lived in Marseille. He knows every places of Marseille. I don’t really remember, somewhere between 2000 and 2002 my father lost his sight then he came back to Senegal. In 2003 he went back to France with my mother.


I have an older sister, her name is Rosita, she is 23. My parents would come every year to see us. In 2008 my sister and I came to be with then again France, it was heaven for the whole family.


I like spending time with my father, he tells stories about his life and he has some funny ones. One of the story I prefer is the one where he would help immigrants to get out of jail by saying they were his brothers. One day a police office told him: “M. Gomis you can’t tell us that every black person is your brother “. My father answered “where I’m from, being from the same neighborhood means that we are like brothers “.

There are many different ethnic groups in west Africa. We are Manjack. In my family our culture is essential. Opening my mother’s closet we face all the clothing and objects that remind us who we are and where we are from. My father always reminds us to not forget our identity our cousins who stayed in Senegal, because family is very important for him. Where I’m from the word “cousin” doesn’t exist. We say brothers or sisters. At home we mostly eat traditional food. My family means everything to me.


And now here is something about me, just about me.

When I was living in Senegal I dreamed about coming to Europe like everyone else. But the main dream I had was to be with my parents again and never leave them ever. Once I was in France I was so happy to see my mother and my father again.


Days went by and I realized that what we see about France on TV does not match completely to what real life in France is. I’m not complaining because the living my father gave us is pretty good.

During my first day in class I cried all day because I felt lonely, I didn’t have any friends at that time.

The others were talking to each other and I was left aside thinking about my friends in Senegal. Days and months went by and I became friends with everybody in my class.

My best friend from Junior High School is Celine, she is Chinese, she was the first that came and talked to me. We have close friends ever since.

I have a soul sister, her name is Martine, we have the same last name even though we don’t come from the same family. We are not from the same village either.

People think we are twins.


I love sports, I play football (soccer). I have played football since my childhood in Senegal. I love cooking, I love traveling (even though I’m scared of flying). I love inviting my friends over and cooking traditional meals for them. I love going outside with my friends to hang out downtown or in malls.


Later on I would like to become an accountant!!

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