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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-06-01 12:29:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-01 18:29:25
    [post_content] => 
To conclude our transference activities we as a Dragons group shared an evening in which everyone got a chance in the spotlight for others to share any meaningful thoughts about that person. I am immensely grateful to everyone in my group for enriching my time in Senegal. In the order in which we celebrated Bridge Year birthdays, I want to share why I am grateful for each member of this group. Julianna: You bring immense amounts of joy to the lives of everyone around you. In everything you do you are thinking about other people and how you can make them happy. You take care of others, you are wonderful at sharing, and you make everyone’s day. Thank you for being selfless. Babacar: You are an academic wonder dedicated to both teaching and learning. Your commitment to young people is astounding. I am impressed by your will to never give up on a student. You wear hats of a father, a teacher, a Dragons instructor, and a patriarch and do it all with finesse. You have imparted me with much wisdom over the past nine months and I appreciate your eagerness to teach and to share. Thank you for leading with humility and welcoming me to your home. Adrian: Your thirst for exploration and whole-hearted commitment to anything you set your mind to are inspirational. You put a ton of work into creating both a bus map and a website from scratch this year. It is astounding that you began these projects and saw them through to completion in such a short span of time. That took the stamina of an athlete, the brain of a mathematician, the flair of an artist, and the skills of a computer expert. You have all those things and I liked seeing them in action. Thank you for using your talents to help others. Stanley: You always talk about how easy it is to choose to make others happy. I love seeing how you make that choice every day and use your life to simply spread happiness. You do it through your music, which is a beautiful gift, and even more importantly you pay attention to the little things that can make or break someone else’s day. It is really thoughtful of you to help strangers who look lost and to offer the things you have that might make someone else warmer or less hungry. Thank you for always having my back. Jackson: You live your life with wonder. Your refreshing attitude helps me remain positive and find gratitude for all of the blessings with my life. At first it was funny to here you say “This is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my entire life” multiple times in one week, but I learned so much from you when I came to see that you were truly living in the moment and showing genuine appreciation for the moment you were living. Thank you for your kindness and for being a role model of living gratitude. Abigail: You have great compassion for others. I picked up on this personality trait reading your introductory yak about how your care for others led to your interest in service. It was a totally different experience to actually see that in action. You were a well-appreciated friendly face to the street kids you worked with, but even more impressive was that you seemed to take care of all the kids in your life, in and out of your service site. You may not know but many times I have walked down a street in Yoff to have the kids sitting around excitedly scream, “Abby!” at me. Although they are mistaking me for you, this frequent experience tells me that you really care for these kids. You stop to greet and play with them and take the time to tell them your name. They are excited to see you (or me, thinking it’s you) and that is impressive. You also shine in your relationship with your little host brother Mohammed. Thank you for building such positive relationships with children and celebrating the joy of childhood. Jeremy: You are a huge asset to our group dynamic. You are a level-headed person who saved us from countless conflicts and problems this year. You are able to approach decisions and see the big picture, understanding what others’ interests might be and succeeding to propose compromises. You are also very adventurous and I appreciate how boldly you faced torturous bus rides and dove into potentially awkward experiences, particularly the dancing circle in Manthiankani. Thank you for living with humility and courage and taking care of our group. Christy: You put together a nine-month experience in a foreign country for seven teenage strangers. All from scratch. You have stayed up late nights and run around this whole city in order to make our experience meaningful. You have done more work than I think I even realize. You always have the group’s best interest at heart. Thank you for your dedication and compassion that have made my Bridge Year possible. Although it was not part of the activity, I would also like to add a shout-out to Christina who has been working diligently behind the scenes at the Dragons office as our program coordinator. It was excellent to have you visit our program. Thank you for taking care of us from the US and for your commitment to our experience. [post_title] => Leaving with gratitude [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => leaving-with-gratitude [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-06-01 12:29:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-06-01 18:29:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85410 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Leaving with gratitude

Nicole Marvin,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

To conclude our transference activities we as a Dragons group shared an evening in which everyone got a chance in the spotlight for others to share any meaningful thoughts about that person. I am immensely grateful to everyone in my group for enriching my time in Senegal. In the order in which we celebrated Bridge […]

Posted On

06/1/13

Author

Nicole Marvin

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-29 08:38:51
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-29 14:38:51
    [post_content] => 
During our week-long session preparing us for re-entry into the USA, we spent some time as a group reflecting on the past nine months and the lessons we have learned during this time. During one activity, we spent time thinking about the core values of Where There Be Dragons, taking about five minutes to write down some reflections about each one. I wrote down quite a bit, so here are some of my thoughts. Compassion: Love, engagement, and concern for others and their lives, with all of their happiness and sorrow. My time in Senegal has brought me to consider more seriously the lives of others, and I feel less self-centered than I used to be. I am more aware and concerned about others' problems and my relationship to them. I feel more comfortable developing close personal relationships with people. I have opened up in Senegal. Self-Reliance: In Senegal, self-reliance has taken a new dimension for me. I have always felt independent and capable by myself, but in Senegal, I feel I have started to find passion and motivation within myself on a deeper and more personal level. I've always succeeded in school and in other realms where expectations are set for me, but in Senegal, I set my own expectations and personal development goals that I felt motivated and driven to pursue. Beyond just being able to travel alone or cook food for yourself, self-reliance means being able to give yourself purpose and determine for yourself success or failure. Courage: Steadfastness and resolution or belief in one's self even in the face of overwhelming fear or odds. Senegal has offered me a chance to enter into human communication and exchange without fear of another's judgement. I have fostered more belief in myself and security in where I stand, and I am beginning to shake off the shackles of others' opinions or negative judgments. Courage for me means being able to look past what others think of me and find a foundation of self-respect within myself. Responsibility: There have been times in Senegal when responsibility has shown me what I should do, even if there is nothing "in it for me". I have done things for which I expected no appreciation simply because I was supposed to do them. Responsibility means doing what you should and what is expected not because you stand to gain directly from it but because it is expected of you and because it helps others, even if nobody recognizes it. Maturity depends on accepting responsibility, and part of my responsibility after this experience is sharing what I have learned with the world to which I am returning. Awareness: Lack of awareness is a type of ignorance that I now understand to be hugely damaging. Intelligent people who can only see an incomplete picture of reality can never understand fully the reality that they contemplate, even though they may believe that they see a complete picture. Awareness is something to be sought after; it means never assuming that you are right and always questioning the conclusions that you come to and the knowledge that you think you have. Awareness means appreciating all that others have to share with you and accepting things with an open mind, ready to consider new perspectives. Awareness also implies a responsibility to share what you know with others. Ownership: My Senegal experience has taught me that part of ownership is investing yourself in a project without fear of failure. It means not shying away from accepting leadership or decision making roles and not fearing giving 100%. Ownership also determines the attachment that somebody has to a venture. For "service" to work, all parties involved must feel some sort of ownership in a project. Otherwise, it is doomed to failure because one who is not invested can just shake off failure without accepting it. Humility: Humility means relinquishing moral judgment in a cross-cultural situation. It means seeking to understand without passing unqualified statements about a culture based on what one believes in one's own native context. Humility means making the needs of the community greater than the needs of the individual. And it means accepting one's imperfection along with humble appreciation of others' strengths. Interconnectedness: What society is more closely interconnected than the Senegalese? Senegalese culture has shown me a different way of life in which human connections and relationships take precendence over everything else, including the desires of the individual, wealth, etc. The health of the community is the most important thing here, not economic growth or material prosperity. Not just humans are interconnected, however: The environment, with all its plants, animals, mountains, oceans, deserts, rivers, everything, is connected, and something I've begun to discover is that some of the world's most pressing issues have common origins. Gratitude: Gratitude is the expression of appreciation for what one has. In Senegal, this has almost entirely been for immaterial things. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to explore and learn what so many others simply can't or choose not to. I have learned to associated gratitude with consideration of others who do not have what I am grateful for. I want to consider gratitude more, and I think that I should find a way to link it to action of some sort. Authenticity: If anything, Senegal has been a country whose people and experiences are the most genuine of any place I've been to before. Despite the ultimate predominance of the community over the individual, people here are themselves, no questions asked (generally), and I have a new focus on developing my own sense of self and getting into touch with authenticity. I want to be authentic, not a reflection of others' desires or expectations, and this links back to self-reliance and courage. I also want authentic life experiences, not a controlled and limited environment that is so easy to lapse into where I come from. Authenticity means appreciating the world's wonders in real life and embracing true emotion and unrestrained relationships with others. Curiosity: True curiosity means exploring the world that you have no immediate rational desire to learn about. Curiosity means keeping your mind open to all new experiences and seizing every opportunity to learn something. Curiosity means engagement in discussions and appreciating and deeply considering what others have to share. 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Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Core Values and Lessons Learned

Adrian Tasistro-Hart,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

During our week-long session preparing us for re-entry into the USA, we spent some time as a group reflecting on the past nine months and the lessons we have learned during this time. During one activity, we spent time thinking about the core values of Where There Be Dragons, taking about five minutes to write […]

Posted On

05/29/13

Author

Adrian Tasistro-Hart

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 14:47:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 20:47:38
    [post_content] => 
In cultural briefings during our first days of Senegal, we were advised to greet everyone we pass to ensure our safety and be polite. With no personal knowledge of Senegalese culture, I took our instructors’ advice and dutifully greeted everyone on my walks through the neighborhood. Over the months, however, it’s become clear that more important than a quick “how are you?” to everyone I pass, is a longer more intentional greeting exchanged with a few key people along my daily paths. While my host family, the people of my service site, and the entire Bridge Year group are obviously important to my time here, the random collection of strangers that have worked their way into my daily routine deserves recognition as well. In my previous Yak I introduced you to Mr. Faye my joking cousin juice seller, and now I'd like to introduce you to "The sitting men". Papa Cheikh Tidiane Sall, an elderly man of seventy-three, who sells and refills the gas canisters that serve as our stoves in Senegal, spends his days sitting outside of his shed on the corner of my street keeping watch over his stock. He is rarely alone, and is joined by his friends from all over Yoff who come to sit with him at his shop. These men are such a permanent fixture in my life that I refer to Papa Cheikh Tidiane’s gas shop as “the corner of sitting men.” Each day as we come home, Adrian and I stop at the gas shop and ask the men about their day. In return, they ask us about our studies and service, advising us that if we work hard we could be the next ambassador or secretary of state. Because of their proximity to my house, I pass by at least twice a day, often accompanied by my copious host siblings. For that reason, Papa Cheikh Tidiane has nicknamed me “Khoudia u xaley-yi”, which means Khoudia (my Senegalese name) of the children. When coming home late, I always feel safe when I see the familiar group of men sitting at the corner. As elder men, they are given the utmost respect and would tell off anyone giving me trouble. This feeling of safety has extended across Yoff, as I’ve encountered the sitting men near their own homes. I have a network of fathers to watch out for me, and I’m thankful to have their friendship. [post_title] => Sitting men [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sitting-men [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 14:47:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 20:47:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85146 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )
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Sitting men

Julianna "Khoudia Thiaw" Wright,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

In cultural briefings during our first days of Senegal, we were advised to greet everyone we pass to ensure our safety and be polite. With no personal knowledge of Senegalese culture, I took our instructors’ advice and dutifully greeted everyone on my walks through the neighborhood. Over the months, however, it’s become clear that more […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Julianna "Khoudia Thiaw" Wright

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 09:05:16
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 15:05:16
    [post_content] => 
The last time we were in Dene, the village where Babacar's father teaches his Sufi disciples, I had a fantastic experience far surpassing our first visit in the beginning two weeks and our second visit in December. Language skill made all the difference. This time, I was able to get to know and joke around with the kids and young adult peers of the community. Before gathering to hear Mayasin preach and celebrate his 70th birthday late in the night, I sat around with Khati, Mam Diara, Ndeye Safi, Mamadu and other children of Dene and they asked, "tell us a story!" So I went right ahead and told them a "story" about people that lived in a place called Dene that were visited by Americans. I joked around and pretended to narrate about these Americans, speaking of our program's evolving relationship with them. Afterwards, they asked me to sing the American national anthem in Wolof and then in English. To give a quick background, we sang the American national anthem in Dene during our December visit, and Mayasin, Babacar's father loved it and popularized it among his community, creating a Wolof translation that Khati sings with haunting beauty.  Khati taught me the Wolof words and I wrote them out sounding out the words in English, and then I taught her to sing the anthem in English as she wrote it out in Arabic letters. It truly felt like a moment of cross cultural exchange as she sounded out the awkward sounds I repeated in winding, elegant letters. Check out the following recording of me telling them the story in Wolof and singing the american national anthem in Wolof and English.  https://soundcloud.com/abigail-gellman/dene [post_title] => New dimensions of Dene [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-dimensions-of-dene [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 09:05:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 15:05:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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New dimensions of Dene

Abigail Gellman,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

The last time we were in Dene, the village where Babacar’s father teaches his Sufi disciples, I had a fantastic experience far surpassing our first visit in the beginning two weeks and our second visit in December. Language skill made all the difference. This time, I was able to get to know and joke around […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Abigail Gellman

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 09:02:50
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 15:02:50
    [post_content] => 
The rose light of dawn started to shine and I woke up with an urge to relieve myself. We were in Dene, a village where the sand sifts through your toes as you walk. If you keep walking, you will reach an enchanted forest where prickly burs cling to the bottom of your feet. After you walk through the forest, you will reach the sea. In Dene, women cover their faces with hijabs and villagers are often seen praying and reading the Koran. Sometimes, the entire village – babies, adolescents, adults, elders – stays up from dusk until dawn, under the starlight, chanting, dancing, and swaying. The villagers sway with grace and fluency. And they snap, too. As Mayasin, the village chief, lets out creative melodies in Wolof and Arabic, the villagers sing along, on their knees, swaying their torsos to the ground and back up. Snap. To the ground, back up. Snap. A cycle of rhythm and passion. But at that time, as I stumbled outside of my hut into the rose light of dawn, the only thing on my mind was finding a place to relieve myself. The protocol for this situation was to go to the forest. So I ran barefoot, the dewy sand passing between my toes, until I reached the forest where I chose a friendly tree. Minutes later, I began the journey back to my hut. The morning breeze, wet chilly sand, and gentle sun rays made my mind fresh. No one else was awake. I walked with purpose. I envisioned myself entering my hut and stretching out on my sunflower-yellow inflatable sleeping pad. I walked, passing by white huts with straw roofs, a well, and golden dogs. Where am I? I wondered to myself. Running from my hut to the forest had only taken a minute, but the journey home seemed to be taking longer. I spotted a mosque nearby, towering over the land. I had never seen this mosque before. That's when I realized I was lost. The entire sun was now visible over the horizon and I had no idea where I was. I approached an elderly woman who was hanging up fabric on a clothesline. "How are you?" I asked. "I'm here." "How is your family?" "They're here." "Do you know how I can get to my hut in Dene, near the place where they chant?" "I don't know," she said. I meandered through this neighborhood, asking everyone I saw. A man pointed a finger in one direction, so I walked that way. A young girl pointed me in a different direction, so I walked that way. The people were eager to help me get home. The sun's position in the sky reminded me that breakfast time was approaching, and my stomach growled. I wondered if I would ever get back to my hut, or if I would spend the rest of my life searching. Two little boys came up to me, giggling. They must have been six or seven years old. I started a conversation with them, and soon after, I told them that I was lost. "I'm looking for my hut in Dene, near the place where they chant," I said. "Dene?" one boy responded. "You're in a different village." The other boy laughed. "Come, follow us." The two boys guided me back to my house. It was a surprisingly long walk, but we made it. I thanked them and arrived just in time for breakfast. The two of them ran off like little children do, and I stood there, watching them, feeling grateful. I was grateful for the goodwill of the Senegalese people, their consistent forgiveness of my directional problems, and their willingness to take time out of their day to help me. But above all, as I stood there outside my hut in Dene, I was thankful for my tongue. As the old Wolof proverb goes, “Boroom làmmiñ du réer.” Someone with a tongue will not get lost. [post_title] => Boroom làmmiñ du réer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => boroom-lammin-du-reer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-08 16:17:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-08 23:17:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85127 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 36 [name] => Best Notes From The Field [slug] => best-notes-from-the-field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 36 [taxonomy] => category [description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [parent] => 0 [count] => 504 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 [cat_ID] => 36 [category_count] => 504 [category_description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [cat_name] => Best Notes From The Field [category_nicename] => best-notes-from-the-field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/best-notes-from-the-field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Best Notes From The Field, Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )
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Boroom làmmiñ du réer

Jackson Salter,Best Notes From The Field, Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

The rose light of dawn started to shine and I woke up with an urge to relieve myself. We were in Dene, a village where the sand sifts through your toes as you walk. If you keep walking, you will reach an enchanted forest where prickly burs cling to the bottom of your feet. After […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Jackson Salter

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 09:01:01
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 15:01:01
    [post_content] => 
I never really minded packing the first time around, but this time it just felt plain old weird. Walking around the room where I’ve stayed for the past eight months, picking up papers with scribbled Wolof notes on, random books I skimmed throughout the year and other reminders of the memories I’ve had throughout the year, I uncrumpled a small, hastily written note that read “The Eleven Principles of the Naqshbandi Path.” I immediately thought back to the first time I was sick in Senegal in my homestay, suffering from a high fever, a headache but yet a continued sense of restlessness. I found an old copy of the Where There be Dragons West African Reader. There I came upon the tenants of a Sufi order that caught my attention. On this crumpled piece of paper I had scribbled down Traveling on the horizons, is traveling from place to place. At the beginning of the journey it can mean leaving home to find a guide or teacher. Also it happened in former generations that when the wayfarer had become established in a place, got accustomed to it and become familiar with its people, they took on traveling in order to break down habit and comfort and cut themselves off from renoun. They would choose travel in order to experience complete emptying. I remember at the time when I found this, I felt as if it truly articulated the reason why I first chose to apply for the program in the first place. I had grown accustomed to my live and sought for something bigger. I wanted to face my inner fears, my inner self-consciousness and to learn how to deal with those situations that make me uneasy. That is why at the beginning of this journey I made my personal mantra “learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” and consecrating that mantra by wearing a single-beaded bracelet. I haven’t taken off that bracelet one moment while I was in Senegal, which for me truly shows that this mantra stuck with me, literally and metaphorically. I yearned for that emptying of comfort, to be thrust into situations and learning how not only to stay afloat but also enjoying it. In a final group activity where we had the chance to talk to each other openly and honestly, a member of the group told me that I had truly come to embody my mantra. Another brought up the instance when we traversed crashing waves in a small pirogue boat. While some of the others vowed to never attempt such a thing ever again, I sat back and enjoyed the ride, no matter how rough the waves got. Other peers brought up the instances where I displayed no inhibitions about jumping into a public African dancing circle and how I was forced to take a rather uncomfortably packed bus to work every day to a work site that was extremely foreign and difficult to me. Then at the end of the activity each of us was presented with a Senegalese amulet. I proudly placed mine on my wrist right next to the single-beaded bracelet, one symbolizing the creation of a goal and the other symbolizing its completion, one symbolizing a time prior to my journey of inhibitions and the other symbolizing a transformation into a stronger sense of self-conviction. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s introduction to the 2004 Edition of Joseph Cambell’s classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces I feel sums it up best: Hence the person who has tired of the curios offered by culture, or one who has been broken from a brittle shell and is wandering in shock-awakens slowly, or all at once-choosing to move toward a larger life that includes spirit and soul. Now, the person sets out on a journey downward and begins to map and find the resources of a richer interior-life-one that can also inform outer life. This quest has been understood, since time out of mind, as one undertaken in order to feel alive again, to remember and to keep what is holy in life. It is a journey to find a truer selfhood; one that cannot be easily corrupted by the outer world, or by time. The impulse fulfills a longing to unearth and reveal one’s greatest and deepest shadows and gifts. It provides the balances required for a person to feel one thing especially-contentment.  And every time I look at those two reminders on my wrist and remember the journey traveled, I certainly feel that overwhelming sense of contentment. [post_title] => Completion and Contentment [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => completion-and-contentment [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 09:01:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 15:01:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85128 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Completion and Contentment

Jeremy Rotblat,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

I never really minded packing the first time around, but this time it just felt plain old weird. Walking around the room where I’ve stayed for the past eight months, picking up papers with scribbled Wolof notes on, random books I skimmed throughout the year and other reminders of the memories I’ve had throughout the […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Jeremy Rotblat

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 85118
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 08:18:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 14:18:19
    [post_content] => 
Hello parents and friends, We are back in Dakar after a relaxing and reflective five days at the beach in Toubab Dialaw. During out time there, we were able to review and reflect upon our nine months here, discover tools to transfer our knowledge back into our lives in the US, to brainstorm how we can smoothly re-integrate into our lives  back at our homes in the United States and at Princeton, and finally, get grounded and find closure in this magical group experience. One activity that we did to process was to brainstorm the top twenty words that we would use to describe Senegal...then collaboratively write poems about our experience without using any of those words! The results are below! More coming soon... Warmest regards, Christy   Born by the sea and raised by the shore A place where time is enjoyed, not rushed Not often do you find yourself in a room that’s hushed Prayer calls ring out, sometimes in grating tones But others more mystical, send shivers through my bones Despite the broken landscape every step is holy ground In a land that moves and breathes, alive to the core Born by the sea and raised by the shore. Life moves as it does and does how it did “Our boat” is “our country” and “our country”, our life. The café is spicy, just like personalities, don’t get burned. Yoff beach wakes up at night, runners in the ocean wind. The Lebou catches a tuna, strong and dark and finned. He gazes across the jagged shore of cliffs And high-rises he starts the motors and sails toward home.   Bismillah Come and have this moment with me Have a seat and stay for hours Life can often be absurd, things I never will be able to explain Jump on the bus and see that people help or people hurt. The high-pitched mbalax drumming zooms in peoples’ ears A young girl starts crying but is told to stop her tears. She fades into the cacophony Of roosters crowing, Layennes chanting The jarring vomiting blare of a sheep In the night otherwise punctuated by droning voices of imams From the number 4, on its treacherous stretch of VDN, To the mystical quiet of spiritual Dene I close my eyes, open my soul, and simply sit Letting the wild diversity of Senegal roll over me like waves on its shores. [post_title] => Transference Poetry [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => transference-poetry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 08:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 14:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85118 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Transference Poetry

Christy Sommers,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

Hello parents and friends, We are back in Dakar after a relaxing and reflective five days at the beach in Toubab Dialaw. During out time there, we were able to review and reflect upon our nine months here, discover tools to transfer our knowledge back into our lives in the US, to brainstorm how we […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Christy Sommers

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 85119
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 08:18:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 14:18:00
    [post_content] => 
They'll be back soon, a matter of days, or hours. I can't imagine the excitement and joy on the other side of the ocean. On this side its separation and it's a little...sadness. C'est la vie, quoi. I can understand the excitement of parents and family. I have been with your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. I know they are great people. I have seen them struggle and succeed, share and learn. I have enjoyed having great times with them, eating, celebrating, roughing it, and sticking it out. I have heard about families back there; parents, siblings, and friends. I have felt love and affection and nostalgia. By the time they arrive they'll look different but you will not be fooled. They'll have tons of stories to say and they'll want you to hear because they want to have your attention and tell you they haven't been just wandering around. Senegal has enticed them, trapped them in its legendary hospitality. Homestay families have seen they are exceptional people and have carved out a well deserved place for every single one of them. We as host families have tried to fill the gaps so that they won't feel homesick. We as instructors have tried to open this country to them so that they expand their humanity. Now we are giving them back with tears and our eyes and somehow a little pain. We send our precious friends to where they belong. Thankfully, Babacar [post_title] => Back Soon [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => back-soon [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 08:18:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 14:18:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85119 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Back Soon

Babacar Mbaye,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

They’ll be back soon, a matter of days, or hours. I can’t imagine the excitement and joy on the other side of the ocean. On this side its separation and it’s a little…sadness. C’est la vie, quoi. I can understand the excitement of parents and family. I have been with your sons and daughters, brothers […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Babacar Mbaye

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 84961
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2013-05-23 16:48:33
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-23 22:48:33
    [post_content] => 
It had been sitting in the bottom of my suitcase for eight months. I had been looking forward to using it but that required some prep work. I had been putting it off, but after searching the weekly market for a dozen white t-shirts and an ample supply of plastic bags in the preceding week I decided on Sundaythat it was finally time to pull out my tie-dye kit. Tie-dye is one of my favorite activities back home and one that I knew even before departure that I would want to share with my host family. I love it because it is both a creative and easy process; thus I figured it would work for host siblings of all ages. To my delight, my presentation of the tie-dye kit resulted in reactions of glee from my host sisters. They immediately began poring over the design guide to choose which look they wanted to create. When I showed them the shirts I had picked out from the market the excitement doubled. Luckily I had done a thorough job in my market search and selected white shirts that my host sisters thought were pretty. I was glad that every shirt earned nods of approval and that I had selected so many shirts. After a time of looking through the designs and shirt selection, my host sisters were eager to get their hands dirty and complete the tie-dye process. Although I was the only experienced tie-dyer of the group, my host sisters required little instruction. I helped one of my sisters tie up her shirt to make the swirl design that she though was the best; the others took the reins and tied their shirts to their likings, not following any model. They easily took over the entire process, even the mixing of the dyes. For me the best part was definitely watching everyone dye the shirts. Each of my sisters had a vision for her shirt and was fearless with the dye. Everyone was interested in using bold colors and experimenting with different techniques, some spraying the dye for a splattered effect and others going for solid patches on the shirts. I simply stepped back and let everyone work her own magic. I liked seeing how well my sisters shared they dyes, too; no one hogged the bottles and everyone was able to completely color her shirt. Nonetheless it was a fast process and after only ten minutes all the dyes were used up! We covered the shirts in plastic bags to complete the process. We had to wait for the next day to see how the shirts came out. Although it made me happy to see my host family sporting newly dyed shirts the next day, the best part of the memory remains watching the creation process. Tie dying was a great bonding activity for my family. After learning so much about Senegalese culture from my experience here, I was thrilled to give back by bringing a small piece of my American life to my host family. [post_title] => Tie-Dye [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tie-dye [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-23 16:48:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-23 22:48:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84961 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Tie-Dye

Nicole Marvin ,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

It had been sitting in the bottom of my suitcase for eight months. I had been looking forward to using it but that required some prep work. I had been putting it off, but after searching the weekly market for a dozen white t-shirts and an ample supply of plastic bags in the preceding week […]

Posted On

05/23/13

Author

Nicole Marvin

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 84960
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2013-05-23 16:47:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-23 22:47:40
    [post_content] => 
In cultural briefings during our first days of Senegal, we were advised to greet everyone we pass to ensure our safety and be polite. With no personal knowledge of Senegalese culture, I took our instructors’ advice and dutifully greeted everyone on my walks through the neighborhood. Over the months, however, it’s become clear that more important than a quick “how are you?” to everyone I pass, is a longer more intentional greeting exchanged with a few key people along my daily paths. While my host family, the people of my service site, and the entire Bridge Year group are obviously important to my time here, the random collection of strangers that have worked their way into my daily routine deserves recognition as well. I’d like to introduce you to one of my many greeting friends. I met Mr. Faye at a rice shack on my second day of service. He gave me the usual “toubab” (foreigner) interview: “How’s Senegal? Delicious?”, “Do you like rice and fish?”, and “Do you have a husband?” To all three questions I dutifully answered yes, knowing any other answer would bring more trouble than it’s worth. He continued his interrogation asking about my work, where I come from, and finally my name. Upon hearing that my Senegalese name was Khoudia Thiaw, he stepped back aghast and taunted, “Thiaw, Thiaw, Dafa ñow,” which literally means “Thiaw, Thiaw, that’s ugly,” then insisted that I change my last name to Faye with a wink and a smile. I valiantly defended the valor of the Thiaw but left him unconvinced. I paid for my rice, left, and quickly forgot about the conversation. The next day, while walking home from work, I heard a familiar voice call out, “Madame Faye! Are you enjoying yourself today?” I turned around to see none other but Mr. Faye pushing a juice cart down the street. “I’m not a Faye, Thiaw only!” I responded, with a laugh. In Senegal, people with last names Faye and Thiaw are” joking cousins,” and upon discovering that someone is your “cousin,” you are at liberty to throw insults his way without any worry of harsh feelings. And so it has gone for the past seven months. He tells me my last name is ugly, and I tell him he eats too much rice; he asks me about my husband, and I ask him about his family. If I want to buy juice, I only buy from his cart, and one especially hot day, he called me over to offer me a juice “on the house.” Though our interactions are fleeting, they bring a little smile and laugh to every afternoon. [post_title] => Joking Cousins [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => joking-cousins [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-23 16:47:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-23 22:47:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84960 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 264 [name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [slug] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 264 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 115 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.10013 [cat_ID] => 264 [category_count] => 115 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 [category_nicename] => bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/bridge-year-senegal-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013 )

Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

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Joking Cousins

Julianna Wright,Bridge Year Senegal 2012 - 2013

Description

In cultural briefings during our first days of Senegal, we were advised to greet everyone we pass to ensure our safety and be polite. With no personal knowledge of Senegalese culture, I took our instructors’ advice and dutifully greeted everyone on my walks through the neighborhood. Over the months, however, it’s become clear that more important than […]

Posted On

05/23/13

Author

Julianna Wright

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