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Hello!

We wanted to let everyone know that we just saw the group (well, minus Margaret and Peter who are leaving on seperate flights) off at the airport. We had a lovely goodbye dinner and a nice evening together before their departure. Thank you again for sending them to Senegal, and enjoy them upon their return!

Team Africa

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Airport!

Liz Connor,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Hello! We wanted to let everyone know that we just saw the group (well, minus Margaret and Peter who are leaving on seperate flights) off at the airport. We had a lovely goodbye dinner and a nice evening together before their departure. Thank you again for sending them to Senegal, and enjoy them upon their […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

Liz Connor

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    [post_content] => The time has come. No it hasn't. But really it has because we are currently waiting for our flight to go back to America. You lie. Benjamin is in denial because he had such a great time here that he doesnt want to go home. The Nile is on the other side of Africa, but I did have a great time. Both of us had an amazing time and its strange to think that we will soon be surrounded a culture that seems so familiar yet so distant. Don't make me do it! At some point we all need to come to our senses and realize that we must go back to our lives in America and share our experience with others. Don't think about it yet; we're still in Senegal and Mamcheikh is making us attaya. We are enjoying the last few hours we have here, and we know that one day we may return to this life; for a week, for a month, for years even. We will, inchallah. What do we hope to bring home from this experience? The entire country and all the people in it, obviously. Well, thats a little out of reach, but we can attempt to bring back a peice of Senegal through ideas, lifestyles, and gifts of course. First of all, I'll be using the water method back home. And in addition to eating from one big bowl without utensils, I hope to bring back a simpler, slower pace of life that presents itself so perfectly in Senegal. Reach out to neighbors and strangers, open our arms in hospitality everywhere we go. Dont forget to make attaya for everyone! And ceebu-jen. Upon our return we hope figure out how to incorporate these features of Senegal with the features of America we have come to appreciate even more. I'm going to miss Senegal. We are all going to miss Senegal, but I feel thrilled to go home and share what I have learned with my American family. (I might have cried a little today). Adopt a Senegalese attitude: everything will work out inshalla. La vie c'est tres bizarre. Life is a journey, just like this trip, and like our adventure for these past three months we will continue to discover new things, meet new people, and have amazing experiences. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Hopefully our time here in Senegal wont fade and become a distant dream. Don't make me cry again. Im sorry. Maangi fi rekk. Nungi dem. Ba suba.
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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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switching off sentences

Bronx Sarr/Maalik Mbay,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

The time has come. No it hasn’t. But really it has because we are currently waiting for our flight to go back to America. You lie. Benjamin is in denial because he had such a great time here that he doesnt want to go home. The Nile is on the other side of Africa, but […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

Bronx Sarr/Maalik Mbay

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I hate using cliches but at the end of an overwhelming, challenging, fulfilling and inspiring three months in West Africa, it is all suddenly over. What else is there to do, in the midst of last minute packing and surreal goodbyes, but wonder where these 94 days have gone? The days are long, but the years or in this case monhs are short. In one sense, a new chapter of my life is just beginning but Ive realized that how we evaluate and compartmentalize our experiences is integral to moving forward with what weve learned. Although the images, scents and sights of Senegal might haunt me with nostalgia, I can also use the memories Ive created within this timeframe to have more amazing times ahead, wherever I happen to be.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Memory?

Sanjana Rajasekaran,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

I hate using cliches but at the end of an overwhelming, challenging, fulfilling and inspiring three months in West Africa, it is all suddenly over. What else is there to do, in the midst of last minute packing and surreal goodbyes, but wonder where these 94 days have gone? The days are long, but the […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

Sanjana Rajasekaran

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In a garden in Labe, we took some time towrite a poem. Each of us wrote a line,only able to see the line before. Asour group will be saying goodbye tonight, I thought this would be a good time to shareit.

The midmorning heats up, the dust rises into out lungs and eyes

Fences of plants and smells of clay saturate the nostrils.

How wondernful it is to let your nose guide you through life, leading you through forests, oceans, and houses.

A childhood beverage rediscovered in unexpected places

The dry hum of conversation against broken mango pits and falling rain.

Awaked by the sounds of children playing, roosters calling, and the morning meal being prepared.

Interrupted by well meant greeting of brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, and nephews, Oh Africa,

she sighed placed before us the void and the everything, inimitable yet accessible in the breathless folds between it and it.

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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a group poem

margaret bonfardin,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

In a garden in Labe, we took some time towrite a poem. Each of us wrote a line,only able to see the line before. Asour group will be saying goodbye tonight, I thought this would be a good time to shareit. The midmorning heats up, the dust rises into out lungs and eyes Fences of […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

margaret bonfardin

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Today is our last day in Senegal. Students are packing, and running around Yoff saying goodbyes. We will gather this evening for a final sea food dinner at Les Almadies, the most Western point in West Africa, and therefore the closest to home. We will circle up and share photos and create a ceremony to complete our program. We will say adieu and know that, no matter what, on est ensemble (we are together).

We will post yaks when the students are in the air. Thank you for entrusting them to us and to West Africa, they have been well loved.

Liz, Nik and Babacar

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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here we go, ndank ndank

Liz Connor,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Today is our last day in Senegal. Students are packing, and running around Yoff saying goodbyes. We will gather this evening for a final sea food dinner at Les Almadies, the most Western point in West Africa, and therefore the closest to home. We will circle up and share photos and create a ceremony to […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

Liz Connor

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    [post_content] => Greetings from Yoff-Dakar. We've finally made it full circle. The students will be heading out on flights tonight, which marks the end of an incredily rich 3 months.I have rediscovered my love of Senegal with a slightly difficult perspective and and happy to say that I still find things that peak my curiosity. The gumption is still there. I was going to put something in the title about the end of an adventure, something cheesy like that. But when it comes down to it this isn't the end of anything at all. If we have done our job, the students will be coming home with their heads full of new questions and contradictions. You never can say, "That's a wrap." My initial foray into West Africa many years ago has had a profound impat on my life and has led me down a path that I couldn't possibly haveconceived of before. Hopefully this trip will serve as a wake up call to all of us--instructors and students--that reminds us to look, empathize, ask, analyze, love and be. Hopefully we will be able to take this 'traveler's mindset' that seeks to soak up knowledge and experience and apply it to the 'rest' of our life until we get to a point where there is no longer a distinction between traveling and staying home, between work and leisure. This balance is found when you can no longer tell if you're getting paid or if you're working pro bono, when you don't know if you're doing it because you know you should or if someone told you to. Butin the mean time, I'll be doing my best to integratethe lessons from West Africa into my life until it is transformed into one solid, seamless foundation.
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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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The End of the Beginning

Nikolas Sweet,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Greetings from Yoff-Dakar. We’ve finally made it full circle. The students will be heading out on flights tonight, which marks the end of an incredily rich 3 months.I have rediscovered my love of Senegal with a slightly difficult perspective and and happy to say that I still find things that peak my curiosity. The gumption […]

Posted On

05/11/11

Author

Nikolas Sweet

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As we reflect and ponder on our experience, we were prompted to write about what we believe we, as students and travellers, have learned about ourselves these past three months. Although not complete, this is what I came up with.

...

to consider myself more capable

and less dependent on technology

to be less of a perfectionist

but more open minded and flexible in my decisions

to not fight change

whether it is in culture or in cuisine

to be more accepting of others

as Ive learned to embrace my values

and set tangible goals

Ive learned you should always listen to your heart

even if at first youd rather not hear it speak

Ive become less fearful with each surmounting challenge

and more eager to test myself

Ive learned to be aware of how I am are percieved

even if at times it makes me uncomfortable or initially defensive

Ive realized its imperative to live fully without hesitation

without regrets

and make the most of what I have

and who I am

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Transeference Journal Entry

Sanjana Rajasekaran,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

As we reflect and ponder on our experience, we were prompted to write about what we believe we, as students and travellers, have learned about ourselves these past three months. Although not complete, this is what I came up with. … to consider myself more capable and less dependent on technology to be less of […]

Posted On

05/8/11

Author

Sanjana Rajasekaran

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    [post_date] => 2011-05-07 00:00:00
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Hello all,

We are leaving St Louis this morning (Saturday) to move to the beach at Toubab Dialow, where we will do our "transference". We will be discussing all that we learned on our journey, as well as the questions that remain. We hope to also relax and play and watch some incredible sunsets.

Look forward to more from the group soon, as our program comes to a close.

Thank you for reading

Team West Africa

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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Moving to close

Liz Connor,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Hello all, We are leaving St Louis this morning (Saturday) to move to the beach at Toubab Dialow, where we will do our "transference". We will be discussing all that we learned on our journey, as well as the questions that remain. We hope to also relax and play and watch some incredible sunsets. Look […]

Posted On

05/7/11

Author

Liz Connor

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    [post_content] => Well folks we are nearing the end of our trip. Can you believe it?! Tomorrow we are heading out for our spot on the beach to think about everything we have learned and what it will be like to go home. We arebeginningto feel excitement but also sadness. Beinggreetedby our familiar customs, friends and family will be wonderful, but there is also remorse for our departure from this amazing place. Our time here in St Louis has been a good end of the trip stop. Weve had a chance to meet Niks contacts and do some great activities as well as have a small taste of America due to the increase in tourists, variety of food, and things to buy. Even so, going back home will certainly be a shock for all of us because of the vast differences in culture. At this point in the trip we have all become so accustomed to the lifestyle here that its hard to imagine switching back to the American life. Maybe some of us dontnecessarilywant to. One thing is for sure, the end of this trip has come up fast. As the days count down to our plane flight I keep thinking of all the things I need to do before the end, of all the people I want to see, all the things I want to buy for home, and all the things I will miss. It seems like there simply isnt enough time. I hope that I can make the most of this last week in Senegal.
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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Just one week

Brooke Stemple,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Well folks we are nearing the end of our trip. Can you believe it?! Tomorrow we are heading out for our spot on the beach to think about everything we have learned and what it will be like to go home. We arebeginningto feel excitement but also sadness. Beinggreetedby our familiar customs, friends and family […]

Posted On

05/6/11

Author

Brooke Stemple

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Peace Corps, bis. Greetings from Saint Louis, the coolest (out come the sweaters) and oldest colonial city in Senegal. I am happy to return here, as this is where I spent a third year as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2009. Living in an apartment by the Senegal River, I worked with an artisanal village and a women's groupement, teaching networking, computer and management skills. We will be able to visit both of these groups as well as my host family and national parks in the area. Walking among the crumbling and restored colonial-era buildings, I think to myself 'I think I could live here.' And yet I already have. But time flies by so fast, I feel like I didn't even have a chance to settle in. There's only a week left in the program and we are beginning to set our sights home. We are trying to make this a productive time, thinking of ways to retain the lessons learned and bring back pieces of Senegal back home. On Saturday we will head to Toubab Diallow, the final stop before heading back to Dakar. In the former beach side town, we will try to bring out trip full circle and see how we can connect experiences, fill in the gaps and continue learning. I myself am wrestling with this process as I still haven't fully come to terms with returning to America after 4+ years in the Peace Corps and travelling. In the meantime we will be the bustling fishing village, learning how to dye Batik fabric, hanging out with wood carvers and silvers smiths and breathing in Saint Louis' fresh ocean air. Life is good.
Jamm ak xewel!
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West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Saint Louis, bis

Nikolas Sweet,West Africa Semester, Spring 2011

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Peace Corps, bis. Greetings from Saint Louis, the coolest (out come the sweaters) and oldest colonial city in Senegal. I am happy to return here, as this is where I spent a third year as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2009. Living in an apartment by the Senegal River, I worked with an artisanal village […]

Posted On

05/4/11

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Nikolas Sweet

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