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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Photos

Suzy Bertsche,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Posted On

06/13/09

Author

Suzy Bertsche

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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PHOTOS!

Sarah Gribbin,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Posted On

06/4/09

Author

Sarah Gribbin

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Photos

Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Posted On

05/27/09

Author

Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery

WP_Post Object
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Hi everyone ...

Sorry that I haven't gotten more photos up. Last time I got to the final page, and they just wouldn't go through. Let's see if we can get them up this time.

I miss you all, it feels so empty here without you. I hope each and every one of you is slowly transitioning back into life at home without too many bumps along the road. I send some warm sunshine, tapalapa and chocolate, bissap, ataaya, and Wolof and Pulaar greetings ...

Much love to you all,

Anne

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Photos … finally!

Anne Koplinka-Loehr,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Hi everyone … Sorry that I haven’t gotten more photos up. Last time I got to the final page, and they just wouldn’t go through. Let’s see if we can get them up this time. I miss you all, it feels so empty here without you. I hope each and every one of you is […]

Posted On

05/15/09

Author

Anne Koplinka-Loehr

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After making the long journey from Kolda, through The Gambia, collecting more dust and passport stamps, the group made it back to Thies, spent one last night with their original home-stay families and continued on to the capital of Dakar, where they now find themselves. They will be in the city until Saturday when they will sojourn to our favorite little beach nook, Toubab Diallo. This idyllic artist's cove is perched overthe rollingAtlanticand in this fresh ocean air,resting in a comfortable and simple resort, the students will gather to reflect upon their journey and present their ISP topics.

I know you are all anxious to hear more tales (I know I am!) and we can hope to hear from the group on and off over the next few days until they hit the beach.

I stumbled upon these videos that Peace Corps volunteers produced and thought you might find them of interest:

http://www.pcsenegal.org/video.html?cid=wwsvidsngwid

I hope this finds you all well.

Megan

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Back to the beginning

Megan E. Fettig,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

Description

After making the long journey from Kolda, through The Gambia, collecting more dust and passport stamps, the group made it back to Thies, spent one last night with their original home-stay families and continued on to the capital of Dakar, where they now find themselves. They will be in the city until Saturday when they […]

Posted On

05/5/09

Author

Megan E. Fettig

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She rises, while I am still drifting through a haze of dreams (driving steeply up mountains, Ben and Jerry's). I half-wake to the flashlight's brightness, the movement of the husk mattress as she lifts the moustiquaire and slips out. Her footsteps echo through my hot half-sleep; I hear water poured between buckets and the clatter of morning pots and pans.

Later, when I have risen and run and bathed, she brings me breakfast in the ubiquitous stainless-steel ware: a small tower of bowls and lids, topped with spoon. When I emerge from eating in the hut, she is doing laundry. Lift scrub knead wring. Her arms are sure and quick, have years of strength and practice.

I sit outside with an assortment of villagers- old women, children with their younger siblings. (Fulo sits on a stool with half a calabash on her head, playing with baby Fatou.) The radio crackles in a background semblance of news, music.

9:20. Dishes. Neene smiles when I come to help. We scrub and rinse pots and pans, then lay them to dry in the sun. She won't let me wash the last, blackest pots, but scrubs off the layers of soot with her brown hands.

Now it's back to sitting around. Neene eats mangos, chats or sits in silence with visiting neighbors. At 11:00 we go to borrow hot coals from the compound across the path. Even that simplest of tasks is performed langorously, and every face not seen within the hour demands a greeting and a smile.

Kodetubanyo, Kirikaahane, Calera: she teaches me cooking words and guides my clumsy attempts at pounding vegetables, sifting maize. Demain c'est toi qui va préparer. We eat under the mango tree, then rest in silence. Neene sleeps, Baaba makes attaya, I read. The rest of the afternoon is spent in heat-lazy comfort, sitting or resting.

With the approach of timis, the dinner preparations begin. Chopping, pounding, boiling... In the end a meal materializes out of the smoke, like every evening. By flashlight we eat, Neene puts away the dishes, we sit and stargaze, make attay and idle conversation. Her son Saidou is back from his work in Kolda; she greets him with joy and the expectation of a less tranquil evening. Laughter, quiet.

Later: time for sleep. I crawl in beside her fanning arm, rest back to back, close.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Shadowing Neene

Taryn McGovern,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

Description

She rises, while I am still drifting through a haze of dreams (driving steeply up mountains, Ben and Jerry’s). I half-wake to the flashlight’s brightness, the movement of the husk mattress as she lifts the moustiquaire and slips out. Her footsteps echo through my hot half-sleep; I hear water poured between buckets and the clatter […]

Posted On

05/2/09

Author

Taryn McGovern

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I wake up with the sun and the sounds of morning chores. Fatou, Mariama, and Koumba, three women in my compund, are pounding rice for the days meals. Their sticks alternate in precise rhythm,harmoniouslyavoiding collision in the large wooden grinding pot. I make a token attempt to help, but of course I am not nearly as efficient and they quickly resume control. After pounding is finished, Mariama brings out a big bucket of cashew fruit, gathered earlier that morning. We rinse and feast on the juicy red and yellow fruits and twist off the nuts for roasting later. Mariama is one of the older women in my compound; she has several children and emanatesmotherly warmth with herwide smile and assuring voice.It is time to go to the garden; I follow Mariama with a gang of Mané children. Mariama's plot is bursting green with folleré (bissap leaves) and okra, and there are tomatoes and eggplant on the verge of readiness. Mariama pulls water from her well and fills buckets; I water the garden, section by section. After a thorough soaking, we head to the cashew grove for even more fruit. They are especially delicious right off the tree, pristine and warmed by the sun. Two buckets filled, we return to the Mané compund. Fatou and I make a fire to roast the growing pile of cashew nuts. We toss the nuts into the flames andlet them blacken. Then we stamp out the fire and shell the cashews by tapping the charred exterior with sticks and rocks.We bring the cashews to the favorite hangout, the shade of the big mango tree, and the snack quickly attracts a crowd. Fatou nurses her baby Sirandi; visitors drift in and out.Fatou is a tall, beautiful burst of energy and a 17 year old mother.Everything she says and does is youthful and playful; at the same time, she cares for Sirandi with incredible calmness and maturity. The long, hot afternoon passes at leisure. We lunch, nap, and rest in the shade as the strong sun moves lethargically across the sky. In the imminent cool of the late afternoon, I return to the garden with Binta, another young mother in my compund. At her plot, I pull water from the well and fill buckets continously as she waters the garden with baby Diop strapped on her back. This work isexhausting; it is also routine. Each of the women I have encountered propel themselves through each task, each day, with such strength and grace. They are unfazed by their prescribed, unchanging, arduous schedules - under their able hands, the household falls into place. When we return from the garden, dinner has been started by several other women. Bissap leaves are being pounded into sauce for the mafé, big black pots of rice bubble over crackling fires. I help Binta clean and fry freshly purchased fish, a treat for this meal. Dinner comes together from all different directions. Rice is mounded onto plates and topped off with dollops of sauce and pieces of crunchy, steaming fish. We eat with our hands, mostly in silence, our bodies appreciative of the food at the end of a long day. Cleanup happens in an instant with so many cooperative hands. The night is cool and breezy; we lay, close together, on straw mats under the stars. Several of the children fall asleep; I listen to the sounds of Pular, soft and low tones punctuated by sharp exclaimations. The women's voices sink into the night, and sleep closes the day.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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one day

Meara Sharma,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

Description

I wake up with the sun and the sounds of morning chores. Fatou, Mariama, and Koumba, three women in my compund, are pounding rice for the days meals. Their sticks alternate in precise rhythm,harmoniouslyavoiding collision in the large wooden grinding pot. I make a token attempt to help, but of course I am not nearly […]

Posted On

05/2/09

Author

Meara Sharma

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Since it has only been two days since I left Manchinkani I still have not fully wrapped my head around the fortnight I spent with Dodo Mballos family. Due to this fact I have not fully processed my homestay and so feel that I can really only yak about a few favorites from my stay.

The mornings-I loved waking up and making the rounds of greetings. Everyone was so exicted to ask how you slept and to see if I would correcty respond to the many questions with "Jam ton" or " alaa noon".

Wallo Time-Before and after both lunch and dinner I was told to wallo . Once I walloed I would either enjoy a sweaty nap or just obersve the women and kids around me.

Mango Courting-Multuple times a day I would be given courting mangos by young boys. They would waltz up to me and say "ca va ?" then "prend" and I would obediently take the mangos and add them to my pile on the bench. A few minutes later another boy could come up and the whole process would be repeated. Many a mango did I eat.

Cutest Mariama-The most adorable little girl in all of Senegal lived in my compound. Though she was a bit of a terror we spent many a happy hour doing the wiggle dance, playing chase, doing our secert hand shake and perfecting our funny faces.

These are just a few of my favorite things.

Habi Balde

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Manchinkani Favorites

Suzanne Bertsche,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

Description

Since it has only been two days since I left Manchinkani I still have not fully wrapped my head around the fortnight I spent with Dodo Mballos family. Due to this fact I have not fully processed my homestay and so feel that I can really only yak about a few favorites from my stay. […]

Posted On

05/2/09

Author

Suzanne Bertsche

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She awakes with the sun everyday, breastfeads her infant as to keep him from crying. She continues the morning ritual by grabbing the mortar andpistol and pounding the grains to have cous cous for dinner. It is always rhythmic and music each pound coinciding with the next. She then starts a fire to begin preparing the breakfast meal for us. She tends to the fire and, the rice, and the 'soon to be' cous cous all at the same time with the most graceful movements. She prepares the usual leaf sauce as the rice is still cooking in the pot, during which the baby begins to cry and she continues cooking while comforting the baby in her left arm

and cooking with the right. She calls all to breakfast in her loud and firm, yet soft and motherly voice. She cannot fully eat because at meal times she has her tiny infant breastfeeding as well but leave it to Neene. She can do it. She then washes the breakfast dishes and then the baby, diapers do not exist. She takes her dripping wet infant and some buckets down to her garden and she pulls water from the well, waters the garden, and picks fresh leaves for the luch and dinner sauces. While Neene is at the garden her younger daugher takes over the pounding and many other villagers come to the house to help. Upon her return she prepares lunch and does some laundry with her sleeping infant resting peacefully on her back. Qs lunch and laundry are finished, served; and cleaned up, Neene finally retreats to her hut for a bit of a nap. She awakens when the sound of crying hits her ears and then feeds him a pre dinner snack. She then gently bathes him once again and she prepares dinner only this time it is half dark outside and she now has the added task of holding her flashlight in her chin and neck to shed light on the cous cous that she had been preparing all day. After dinner is served she washes the dishes and sits to talk with her husband and family and drink some tea before retiring to the hut for some sleep.

The village was hard at times but absolutely incredible and i quickly became attached to my family and my village and wished we could have even stayed longer. Their lives are almost the same day to day but they are so enriched with friends, love, and family that you almost never notice.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Neene Ramatoulaye Balde

Jordan Siegel,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

Description

She awakes with the sun everyday, breastfeads her infant as to keep him from crying. She continues the morning ritual by grabbing the mortar andpistol and pounding the grains to have cous cous for dinner. It is always rhythmic and music each pound coinciding with the next. She then starts a fire to begin preparing […]

Posted On

05/2/09

Author

Jordan Siegel

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In Monchinkane I was living with a family that consisted of a mother and father, a 14 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. My assignment for the day was to shadow one of the family members, and I chose to follow my homestay sister. I learned that she was by far the busiest of all the family. While the parents were much older and the boy was too young, she seemed to carry alot of responsibility. The roles of a young woman in Senegal also became clear. She was responsible for drawing water from the well, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. She handled the hard work gracefully and always had a smile on her face. I was very impressed.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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Homestay Sister

Jack Farr,West Africa Semester, Spring 2009

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In Monchinkane I was living with a family that consisted of a mother and father, a 14 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. My assignment for the day was to shadow one of the family members, and I chose to follow my homestay sister. I learned that she was by far the […]

Posted On

05/2/09

Author

Jack Farr

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