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Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14


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    [post_content] => This weekend, we'll be packing our bags and heading up north to the Langue de Barbarie National Park for our mid-year retreat. On the agenda: relaxation, reflection and recreation.

The peace and calm of the Langue de Barbarie, a beautiful park where the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean meet, provides an ideal place for us to reflect on the past 5 months. We look forward to exploring the park and reflecting in nature, relaxing and re-energizing ourselves for the next few months, and discussing with one another on our experience - including bringing our Weekly Waxtaan (usually held Sundays at the Program House) outside of Dakar.

 

We will be at the Langue de Barbarie from Friday, February 7, until Sunday, February 9. The park is just south of Saint-Louis, approximately 4 hours from Dakar. While away, we won't access to internet. Stay tuned until next week for updates from our mid-year retreat!

Jerejef!

Babacar and Elke

 

Study the heart and the mind of man, and begin with your own. Meditation and reflection must lay the foundation of that knowledge, but experience and practice must, and alone can, complete it.

-Lord Chesterfield, in Letters to His Son

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Mid-Year Retreat

Babacar and Elke,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

This weekend, we’ll be packing our bags and heading up north to the Langue de Barbarie National Park for our mid-year retreat. On the agenda: relaxation, reflection and recreation. The peace and calm of the Langue de Barbarie, a beautiful park where the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean meet, provides an ideal place for […]

Posted On

02/5/14

Author

Babacar and Elke

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So we passed our program halfway point last week (ok, two weeks ago - I'm a bit late) and with the double intent of celebrating and warding off the depressing knowledge that the bulk of my Bridge Year is now behind me (glass is half full! glass is half full!), I thought I'd make a list of all the things that the last 4.5 months of my life have held. *Revision: intended to be a list; became a poem. Thought I’d best just go with it   Bui! Cafe Touba! and mafe! oh my each lunch with Katie, Kabbas' first pie Sahelian friendships, though the boys may snark and wandering back through Yoff’s sandy alleys after dark Endless positivity and support from team-I Modou Lo downs Eumeu Sene with a victorious cry And trekking! 18 miles under the (African?) sun Storytime from Elke, quadrilingual fun Marriage proposals - "tu es belle, euh?" - NO And learning - slowly, surely - to go with the flow Cheikh Amadou Bamba peers down from each Taxi, klondo, bus, boutique - much he can teach "Toubab! Toubab!" yell the xale yi, hands outstretched As you ñibi from Ibrahima's butik, with groceries just fetched “Ndeye Ami! Ñew na!,” greetings, dom-hugs: this is home Wally, Titi on TV – fitting in is yomb You tickle your kidlums, melt at baby Daouda’s smile Dance and joke and sing and launder, Fayenne style Then off to the tailor’s maybe? Of chia you’re in need You grab four meters HLM-purchased wax (we can’t all have tweed) And the buses! 47 or 8, chez YMCA and back Or a klondo and Kar Rapide, if 47s are in lack "Yangi comprends?" asks your boss in the Frolof of his birth You nod "Waaw," adjusting headscarf to hide your mirth And Khady, patient teacher, mother, maker of bui Discussing life as equals, here no toubab, just me West Winging, laughing, chilling with my fellow six Strangers now siblings, what a gorgeous random mix We dóor war each day, Franglish, Wolaar, Spanabic yep With Paul’s tea, crèmes, or Amina’s attaya to sip From Joal, Noflaye, learning to survive, to get along Juroomi wéer ci kanam… “now we have a song” We religious pilgrimage, we get ice cream at N’Ice Nearby Institute Français offers concerts – and meals at toubab price Who needs toilet paper? Who needs tablecloths, dollars, addresses? When you’ve teapots, bousbous, family, and hair done up in tresses? Each week adds more knowledge, richness: lambe, Guediawaye, check Babacar’s rants of reason, Stromae vocab-building: “mec”? Nguentes, décédes, Gorée, a French legacy quoi Here lies sorrow, joy, ruin, growth: aduna la It’s halfway done. Yes. It’s true. the disappeared Tampico But I smile: four months? – no, a lifetime – left with these amazing people     [Wolof/Senegal vocab: bui = baobab fruit juice, mafe = delicious peanut-sauce-meat-rice dish, xale yi = the children, ñibi = return home, ñew na = she has arrived, dom = children, yomb = easy, wax = popular printed fabric, yangi = you are, waaw = yes, toubab = Westerner, dóor war = work hard, juroom = five, wéer = month, ci kanam = later/in the future, bousbous = traditional Senegalese outfit, lambe = Senegalese wrestling, nguente = baptism, aduna = life/the world]   [post_title] => Halfway Point! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => halfway-point-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-02 00:15:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-02 07:15:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=97171 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )
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Halfway Point!

Miranda Bolef,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

So we passed our program halfway point last week (ok, two weeks ago – I’m a bit late) and with the double intent of celebrating and warding off the depressing knowledge that the bulk of my Bridge Year is now behind me (glass is half full! glass is half full!), I thought I’d make a […]

Posted On

02/2/14

Author

Miranda Bolef

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    [post_content] => Fallou, my ten-year-old homestay brother, loves to draw. Many a night have I gone home with the intention of teaching him English, only to find later that my lesson will deteriorate into what I like to call a doodle fest (which sounds a lot cooler in my mind). A doodle fest begins with someone calling out a noun, such as garab (tree) or gainde (lion), and ends after Fallou and I have finished designing our artistic interpretation of said noun. If you would like a basis of comparison for our pieces of art, just imagine me as Picasso and Fallou as a mediocre 1st grade art student (probably because he is ten). So where am I going with this? To be honest, I’m not really sure. I guess I’ll continue with a small anecdote from a doodle fest (still sounds cooler in my mind) that took place a few short evenings ago. Now this Doodle Fest did not arise due to my rather poor teaching skills, no, this was an intentional doodle fest initiated by the fact that my grandmother had sent Fallou a present that afternoon: crayons. For those of you who did not grow up doodling your way through school (not that I did), crayons add a whole new and wonderful dimension to the blobby, disfigured artworks that you can create (this new dimension being color, of course). Naturally, Fallou was excited and, admittedly, so was I. After repeatedly assuring my host father that I, the mature nineteen-year-old student that I am, would not mind “wasting” my time obliging the artistic needs of my little brother, I eagerly ran to join Fallou in the living room. It was there that we began with our first noun, that rare and elusive creature that is the dog. My dog was the perfect doodle, complete with a cartoonish face, oval shaped body, and unevenly sized stick legs. Throw in the fact that it was shaded with a beautiful mixture of pink and purple crayon and you can bet that I was proud of my masterpiece. It was only after I took a glance at Fallou’s paper that this doodle fest (and I suppose now this Yak) became rather unusual. Drawn on this piece of paper was a blue thing (like I said, his doodling skills were subpar), unrecognizable as a dog except for the fact that it had five legs… wait. Five legs? Then it hit me — it wasn’t a leg. My host brother had decided to draw an anatomically correct animal. If you still haven’t figured out what the “fifth leg” was actually depicting then I cannot help you, but I can say that I was uncomfortable and even a little embarrassed by my discovery. Heightening my discomfort further was the fact that my host parents did not seem to notice the proverbial “elephant in the room” as Fallou proudly displayed his creation to the rest of my family. Let me end this rather bizzare anecdote here by saying that we spent the rest of the evening doodling “harmless” nouns such as boats, trees, and flowers. What was the point of this ridiculous story? Following this incident, I had time to reflect (making Paul proud) on Fallou’s drawing. Why did I feel so much discomfort? After all, in a country where women publicly breast feed and no animals are neutered, Fallou’s doodle depicted a sight that is not uncommon to me. Maybe that’s just it. So often, I realized, people like to or are even encouraged to stretch reality — leaving out more distasteful details and exaggerating the pleasant ones- that people are left wishing (or worse yet, expecting) the world to be full only of smiling, purple and pink cartoon characters. Human experience is a messy conglomerate of experiences, ranging from the most terrible to the most wonderful. Thus talking about life only in terms of rainbows and sunshine would be inaccurate, even unfair to those acting as an audience. At times, I believe, it is not people’s small troubles that make them unhappy, but rather their unfulfilled expectations of a reality in which only pleasant moments and happy times exist. So here is my point (yes, FINALLY):  Fallou’s rather odd depiction of a dog reminded me, in a rather roundabout way, not to sugarcoat my experiences here in Senegal--to take them at face value, the good with the ugly, and appreciate their reality. So, Fallou, for producing a thought provoking doodle that made a statement, however unintentional, you won the title of true Picasso that night. Who would have thought that a blue, disproportional five legged dog could be a work of art?

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Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

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The Fifth Leg

Katie Kavanaugh,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Fallou, my ten-year-old homestay brother, loves to draw. Many a night have I gone home with the intention of teaching him English, only to find later that my lesson will deteriorate into what I like to call a doodle fest (which sounds a lot cooler in my mind). A doodle fest begins with someone calling […]

Posted On

01/24/14

Author

Katie Kavanaugh

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    [post_content] => There’s a common thread in this thing. The thing that you thought of isn’t really anything. 

I’m sitting on a thing. A couch like…thing.

Ensconced in my shelter, protected from the elements, I’m sitting while I’m reading a book about something. It’s a something that’s not particularly interesting, though it could have been if it were less self-glorifying. Isn’t that something? Well, it’s a thing. You see, the thing is that I’m sitting on a thing because I don’t really have much of a need to do something with…anything. So I’m sitting and reading a thing which talks about people and their things. It talks as if people themselves are things. I don’t particularly think that’s a good thing. I’m sitting there, thinking these things, when I hear the noise of a thing hitting another thing. Things are going through my head, pouring over the possible implications of what kind of thing just made that thing, when three other things enter. These are friendly looking things, happy and smiling, as they sit on the thing opposite the thing that I’m sitting on. One of these things apparently made that other thing that was a sound like thing. They call it knocking. That’s a thing? Regardless, I forge ahead, forgetting my doubts about things that were, and diving into new doubts about things that are. Things like why exactly are these things sitting on the thing in front of me for no apparent thing? I don’t understand a thing. The things they spout from their mouth, which seem to resemble word like things, make me believe that they didn’t really plan anything besides sitting on the thing in front of my thing. And so, in order to be a courteous thing, I start talking about things with these things. We talk about various things, such as these things, and those things, and not to mention more things like something about a thing that doesn’t really mean anything in relation to your things. Two little things that live with me in the thing where I spend most of my night start jumping over all our things. It’s not a particularly nice thing that they’re doing, but what can you do? Little things will be little things. As the little things jump over the things of the three other things, one of the things takes leave from the thing where I spend most of my night. I believe the thing takes leave because they need to put some things in their mouth so that they live to see other things. It’s an odd thing to do because the thing says that it will come back to the thing where I spend most of my night after it is done devouring other things that used to be different kinds of things before things were done to them. It’s an interesting thing. Two of the three things are staying though, so I still talk to them about various things. The not so interesting book about potentially interesting things is not really interesting anymore, so I put that thing away. As we wait for this third thing to come back, things start to do things in my mind. It’s a curious thing. And as we sit on those things that are something, and after the third thing comes back from devouring the things of other things, the two things that produced the two little things come in holding a thing. It’s a beautiful thing. A tasty thing. A commemorative thing, brought in due to the fact that I became a thing on that day. And as we celebrate by eating that thing to celebrate my being a thing, I’m astounded by one thing.

I’m feeling content about everything.

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Things

Kabbas Azhar,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

There’s a common thread in this thing. The thing that you thought of isn’t really anything. I’m sitting on a thing. A couch like…thing. Ensconced in my shelter, protected from the elements, I’m sitting while I’m reading a book about something. It’s a something that’s not particularly interesting, though it could have been if it […]

Posted On

01/16/14

Author

Kabbas Azhar

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When I wrote this Yak back in October about water, I promised I would write a part 2. And I still will. But first, I’d like to write part 1.5. Water’s always been an important force in my life. I prefer beaches to picturesque country-sides, the sea to the mountain. And so visiting l’Île de Yoff was both a throwback to my childhood and an eagerly anticipated visit. We departed Dakar’s shore in the late afternoon. Our two minute journey to the island took place in a motorized but small fishing vessel that fit all nine of us and the boat owner. Fisherman and fish sellers roamed the beach front that we were steadily moving away from. Most of the fish that they caught would end up being sold at markets around Yoff before ending up in savory plates of chebujen. The colorfully decorated boats seemed to stack upon one over as we got farther from the shore. After no more than a couple of minutes, we approached the rocky entrance to the island. Each of us tried to find a way to de-board the vessel without getting completely wet; some of us were more successful in this task than others. As we turned away from the hustle and bustle of Dakar to the uninhabited island, it was hard not to notice the cow’s head placed atop a large rock. As our guide explained the history in rapid Wolof while Babacar translated, we learned that there is an annual sacrifice to the spirit of the Island, Maam Jaara. This ritual involves sacrificing a cow and pouring milk over the rocks. These spirits (rabb) have been a part of the local land since before Islam’s penetration of West Africa in the tenth century. The interplay now is a little more complex. While some choose to believe in these spirits live their lives according to the stories associated with these spirits, others merely accept their existence, choosing instead to live based on a religious code. The compatibility between the two entities is beyond the scope of this piece; it may even take more than a Ph.D. dissertation to elucidate the interaction sufficiently. Either way, as you walk through the island, you definitely feel something. A spirit? Maybe not. But there is a sense of sacredness in the way the breeze gently touches your face while the waves crash against the rocky barrier of the island. As we re-boarded the boat to head back to the shore, I took one last gaze at the deceptively endless coast of Dakar. After a few perfectly placed steps among the rocky ocean bottom, I was back in the boat, ready to face the overeager market sellers and taxi lined streets of Dakar once again. [post_title] => Islands and Spirits [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => islands-spirits [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-03 12:58:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-03 19:58:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=96509 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )
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Islands and Spirits

Omid Abrishamchian,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

When I wrote this Yak back in October about water, I promised I would write a part 2. And I still will. But first, I’d like to write part 1.5. Water’s always been an important force in my life. I prefer beaches to picturesque country-sides, the sea to the mountain. And so visiting l’Île de […]

Posted On

01/13/14

Author

Omid Abrishamchian

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As payment for being left out of Katie's christmas yak, Aminata Sall, the forgotten BYP raindeer, is posting a photo yak this week. Happy new year!! [post_title] => Aminata, the 10th raindeer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => aminata-10th-raindeer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-12-29 10:10:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-12-29 17:10:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=96090 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )
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Aminata, the 10th raindeer

Anna Simon,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

As payment for being left out of Katie’s christmas yak, Aminata Sall, the forgotten BYP raindeer, is posting a photo yak this week. Happy new year!!

Posted On

12/29/13

Author

Anna Simon

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    [post_content] => Merry Christmas!!

We hope you are enjoying the holidays!  Here in Dakar, we've had a great day of fun, food and festivities!

The students decided to mainly spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning sharing with their homestay families.  Our group celebrations started around midday on Christmas Day with a light lunch (fruit salad) and early cooking preparations.  Afterwards, we exchanged gifts by playing 'White Elephant' and 'Secret Santa' games.  Then Santa, St Nick and an elf (who looked suspiciously like the instructor team in costume) visited the group to give stockings and candy.    We spent the afternoon cooking a feast, including chicken, corn pudding, nut loaf, mashed potatoes and roast vegetables, followed by individual apple pies.

Christmas is a special time for many of our group.  We have loved celebrating together and bringing our festivities to our community in Dakar.

Happy holidays!

Paul, Babacar and Elke

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Merry Christmas!

Paul, Babacar and Elke,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Merry Christmas!! We hope you are enjoying the holidays!  Here in Dakar, we’ve had a great day of fun, food and festivities! The students decided to mainly spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning sharing with their homestay families.  Our group celebrations started around midday on Christmas Day with a light lunch (fruit salad) and early […]

Posted On

12/29/13

Author

Paul, Babacar and Elke

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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2013-12-29 10:08:41
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-29 17:08:41
    [post_content] => 
Twas the day before Christmas when all through the program house,

Not a student was skyping; not even Miranda.

Language Classes were over, poop scales had been told,

and two hoped that their soap opera wouldn’t be old.

Madbabs yelled loudly into his phone

while Avi searched wildly for his own.

And out on the sidewalk Aida Mane seemed clever,

 As she screamed Chofe Rofe Dore Bore Amul Jabar.

Ndank ndank dishes were being washed,

By none other than Catman and and his sidekick Baatch.

And where goes Abdu at this time of day?

Well of course to nap, to hit the hay.

And as he went Aissatou knocked on the door,

Determined to make the kitchen smell no more.

 When out through the alleys there rose such a clatter,

The Senegals and guys sprang from their tasks: what was the matter?

Quickly they ran down the stairs despite the heat,

Passed Diallo’s butik and into the street.

The calls to prayer fell softly on their ears

While the smell of beignets threatened to bring jouyous tears.

When what to their wondering eyes did arrive

But an enormous camel trudging up the drive.

The sweaty rider talked only of poo,

And those who beheld her recognized Nafissatou.

Hanging on for dear life she and her camel came

As she looked at her friends and called them by name. 

Now Elke! Now Avi! Now Omid and Kabbas! On Madbabs!

On Emma Claire! On Abdu Miranda and Omid!

Dance Away! Eat Away! Poop away all!

She gave them a nod as she rode right on by,

Searching for beignets that were yonder nigh.

And clearly she yelled as she rode out of sight

Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!

[post_title] => Twas the Night Before Christmas Senegal Style [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => twas-night-christmas-senegal-style-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-12-29 10:08:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-12-29 17:08:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=96094 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )

Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

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Twas the Night Before Christmas Senegal Style

Katie Kavanaugh,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Twas the day before Christmas when all through the program house, Not a student was skyping; not even Miranda. Language Classes were over, poop scales had been told, and two hoped that their soap opera wouldn’t be old. Madbabs yelled loudly into his phone while Avi searched wildly for his own. And out on the […]

Posted On

12/29/13

Author

Katie Kavanaugh

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2013-12-23 09:04:56
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-23 16:04:56
    [post_content] => 
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. – Miriam Beard Greetings from Dakar! We’re back in the big city after an amazing two weeks traveling through southeastern Senegal. It was wonderful discovering more of the country and experiencing life in the rural regions – every day brought beautiful scenery, great sites, and the best part of all smiling faces. Our first week, we explored the region of Kedougou on foot, trekking from town to town, village to village, with packs on our backs. We first broke in our hiking boots with a short hike up to the Bedick animist village of Ethiowar and beautiful views from a mountain cliff, followed by a 30km full-day hike from Bandafassi to Dindefelo the next day. From our campements in Dindefelo and the nearby village of Dande, we visited a peaceful waterfall, Guinean border towns, ancient caves and spectacular rock formations called the “teeth of Dande”. For the second week, we traveled westward from Kedougou to Kolda where we stayed in the Pulaar village of Manchiankani for a week of homestays. It was a week of practicing Pulaar, helping in the fields, learning the djembe, and hearing from local guest speakers. The group visited a local fortune teller to hear about their lucky days for travel and where their stars were located. We learned how to make tapalapa bread, a BY favorite, with the baker in Manchiankani who also practices traditional medicine. Another morning, the group walked to Bagagadadji to learn about education in the area from a headmaster and to hear from a woman about her work with Tostan and promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting. The highlight was the going-away party on Friday afternoon with a delicious feast and dancing into the evening. Mark Twain once said, “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” And after 14 days, a dozen towns and villages, and over 1000 miles, we can say with confidence that we couldn't have wished for a better group. Now that we’re back in Dakar, we are busy planning for the holidays and the New Year. Many of the service sites are closed for the holidays, and so students are taking time off to spend time with their host families, explore the hidden gems of Dakar, and continue with their ISPs. They are also planning several group activities for the next two weeks - Christmas and New Years, plus two birthdays! On Christmas Day, we will be together for a group holiday celebration. Thinking back to Thanksgiving, it should be another feast fit for a king! Happy Holidays from the Bridge Year Senegal I-Team And all the best to you and your family in the coming New Year, Paul, Babacar and Elke [post_title] => A wonderful excursion [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wonderful-excursion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-12-23 09:04:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-12-23 16:04:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=95998 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )
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A wonderful excursion

Paul, Babacar, and Elke,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. – Miriam Beard Greetings from Dakar! We’re back in the big city after an amazing two weeks traveling through southeastern Senegal. It was wonderful discovering more of the country and experiencing […]

Posted On

12/23/13

Author

Paul, Babacar, and Elke

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2013-12-06 10:17:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-06 17:17:38
    [post_content] => 
(continuing my list of features of daily Senegalese life) 5.            Markets There are only a handful of grocery stores in Senegal (concentrated in the most touristy neighborhoods of Dakar); otherwise, all shopping is done in markets. This has several benefits: first, all food is incredibly fresh, and thus exceedingly delicious (mangoes!). Secondly, this system allows buyers to establish relationships with vendors – you talk and joke as you buy your groceries, you bargain, you become a regular and get to know their families, perhaps invite them over for a meal sometime. The system has so much more humanity than the impersonal supermarkets of America, where the goal is to get in and out as fast as possible, where you can spend an entire shopping trip without human interaction (self-checkouts! yay!). In Middle Eastern and African societies, it’s often said that “the plague of the West is loneliness”; living in Senegal, it’s not difficult to see why. 6.            Time and Attaya (Kaay toog!) Attaya: that delectable mixture of warga tea leaves, mint, and sugar, served ubiquitously in Senegal in its traditional three rounds (the first, most bitter; the last, sugary and sweet). On an afternoon stroll through a Senegalese village or neighborhood, it’s impossible to not find a small group or two gathered around a wooden bench, chatting and preparing attaya in a little metal teapot. If you pass by anyone you know, you’ll inevitably be hailed by a “Kaay toog!” (Come sit!) or “Kaay naan attaya!” (Come drink attaya!). And so you’ll sit, relax, and chat for five or fifteen or thirty minutes (attaya takes a while to brew). For the point of attaya-sitting is not the attaya, but the sitting: simple toog-ing, just chatting and enjoying the present moment and the company of those around you. In my experience of Senegal so far, many more hours of the day are spent toog-ing in inactivity than I’m used to in the U.S. (where such doings would be condemned by hyper-productive American culture as “wasting time”). Consequently, the general atmosphere in my Senegalese home and neighborhood is far less rushed than in its American counterparts. This has brought a level of peace and contemplation to my life that I’ve never experienced before, an awareness of the present moment that I hope to incorporate permanently into my lifestyle – to bring back to America with me and keep my whole life long. 7.            And then, there are all the other beautiful, random quirks that give Senegal its cultural heartbeat: the deliciously spicy Senegalese coffee, Café Touba; the openness and willingness of perfect strangers to become friends and exchange numbers after only a conversation (the entire concept of “strangerhood” is completely different in Senegal – see Anna’s excellent Yak post on the topic here http://wheretherebedragons.com/strangers-3/); the gorgeous mosques lining the streets; jaywalkers crossing busy highways on their way to work (formal crosswalks in Senegal are few and far between); sand alleys and bousbous and lakh and bucket showers and djembe drumming and bui (baobab) juice and brightly-colored Alhamdiloulah busses rattling about with young men in jelly sandals hanging out the backs. So there it is. Senegal, in 2000 words or less. Stack all these layers and the resulting cake should provide a little taste of what Senegalese life is – hopefully, not only the obvious surface features of clothes or food, but hinting at the deeper differences – in social structures, in values – as well. Yet one final point remains: though Senegal is a different place than the US, it really isn’t that different. On any given day, the full gamut of emotions any American experiences has been felt, exactly the same, by the Senegalese people I live and interact with – by any human being anywhere on the planet, for that matter. Because the simple truth is that people are the same everywhere, in the most beautiful, interconnected sense. Still, the perception most Westerners get of Africa from the media is of different-ness. Poverty, bloody ethnic conflict, civil war, starvation – the ideas most foreign to a typical comfortable American – is what Africa becomes defined by in our minds. But in Senegal, more than anything else, I have found sameness. Children in my compound bicker and play just as children do in my home in the U.S., young men start impromptu soccer matches wherever possible, young kids cry as they’re separated from parents on the first day of school, university graduates search for jobs, families try to get by. Truly, the most honest answer I could give to “What is Senegal?” is simply this: Senegal is people. Just people, as beautiful, dynamic, cruel, compassionate, energetic, frustrated, perseverant, and alive as any else. [post_title] => I Have Four Children... and other interesting facts about my life in Senegal (Part 2) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => i-have-four-children-and-other-interesting-facts-about-my-life-in-senegal-part-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-12-06 10:17:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-12-06 17:17:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=95248 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )
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I Have Four Children… and other interesting facts about my life in Senegal (Part 2)

Miranda Bolef,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

(continuing my list of features of daily Senegalese life) 5.            Markets There are only a handful of grocery stores in Senegal (concentrated in the most touristy neighborhoods of Dakar); otherwise, all shopping is done in markets. This has several benefits: first, all food is incredibly fresh, and thus exceedingly delicious (mangoes!). Secondly, this system allows buyers […]

Posted On

12/6/13

Author

Miranda Bolef

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