Sankofa it is a bird that moves forward but has its head turned backwards. It means looking to the past to build the future and make people become men, especially in the most difficult moments
Almost every day I pass a man who crosses the mission to go to his fields. Sometimes he greets me, other times I greet him. I always find him every morning in his work clothes. And in the evening, I still see them with the same clothes, a little dirtier, and with some luggage behind their bicycle. This happens in all seasons: with the rain in August, the cold in January, the heat in May. Nothing stops him. Out of my curiosity, one day when he was going to the fields in the rain I dared to ask him what he was doing in that weather. «Let’s just go» was his response. I took time to understand: what did he mean? “Let’s just go”? Maybe yes. It is an expression taken from French that they often use and which often contains encouragement, which we say to each other, depending on the situation. Behind it, however, there is a broader thought, a way of looking at things, of experiencing work and its results.
After all, the good farmer knows only one thing: working. Work without too many demands, work to move forward and move forward without fear and without being discouraged. His determination is so strong that nothing stops him, neither sun, nor rain, nor the great heat. And every time he returns home with something, never empty-handed. Going to the fields bears fruit. My farmer’s logic is very simple, but very strong. If everyone understood this logic, the world would be a little better. Let’s just go!
The spontaneous question that comes to mind, however, is: “where to go?”. Move forward, despite the hardships and sometimes negative results. Move forward, despite illness or misfortune. You have to move forward, otherwise you won’t become a man. Man is the one who moves forward. Man must move forward if he does not want to die. Man is like a river that always flows forward and never turns back. Man is like a tree that grows up, not down; like a clock that counts the next hour, not the past one. Moving forward is the nature of man. My farmers also move forward, just move forward.
This does not mean that we cannot or should not stop to look back and look within. Here we have a symbol, it’s called Sankofa and it is the image of a bird moving forward but with its head turned backwards. Sankofa it means looking to the past to build the future. It reminds us that what we leave behind must not be forgotten as we move towards tomorrow. We learn from the past for our future actions.
Even my farmer stops for a moment every now and then, not to go backwards, but to move forward with more determination. To become men. So: “Let’s just go! Let’s just go!’