Photo of the Week
Senegal 4-week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2014-07-28 08:59:40
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    [post_content] => What follows is every student's manifestation of the entire trip in just two sentences. Products of a wonderful Transference activity, we each made a list of ten adjectives or nouns that described the trip, and then made sentences out of our two favorites. Glancing over the list before I type it up, I am amazed at the profundity our group was capable of in just a few minutes, with just a few sentences. The picture is a drawing by Adrian Tomby, signed by everyone in the group. Enjoy!

-My trip to Senegal was authentic in many forms. Authentic in ways including traveling to less touristy areas to see genuine Senegalese lifestyles, to see a good deal of different traditions, and being embraced by the welcoming nature of Senegal.

-The way everyone lives in Senegal is simple, which allows everyone to prioritize only the most important parts of life. We spent our time here not always focusing on analyzing and interpreting every detail of Senegal as though it is a distant planet, but instead just living the way people live here. We had the most rich and authentic experience possible.

-There is a sense of community present throughout all of Senegal that creates an amazing bond between all people, hospitality is a respected part of the culture. People have the ability to have freedom of their values, opinions, and to practice their own beliefs.

-This experience has been so surreal in that at first being here seemed like a dream I had, but then the month stretched on into the longest month of my life (in a good way). The month was enlightening in that I learned about the culture, I've grown as a person, and I've learned a bit more about what I'm capable of and what I can handle.

-From beaches to deserts, from small moments to major events, Senegal's beauty was overwhelming. I experienced things with the group, with the Senegalese, or even by myself which were breath-taking, stunning, unforgettable.

-Senegal has shown me how simple, yet unpredictable life can be. The hospitality of these people is surreal. They are welcoming, patient, but above all, they are united. These people are a family.

-Teranga - the hospitality in every action. At Dragons, we live in Authenti-City. We opened up space for the unpredictable, for the magical, for the surreal. Something breath-taking is rather breadth-giving, as we walk away more alive than before.

-The hospitable, friendly vibes and attitudes of the Senegalese is inspiring. This last month in Africa has been a memorable, enlightening experience, one which will stick with us for the rest of our lives.

-You will never go hungry nor spend a night without a roof on top of your head here in Senegal, the land of Teranga. The people of Senegal live day by day an honest life, everything one owns is well earned.

-Every Senegalese person I've met this past month has welcomed me into the culture with an immense amount of Teranga. Their stories combined with my other experiences energized me to continue traveling and seeking personal growth.

What jumps out at me is the similarities between so many posts, despite the fact that everyone did this activity independently. Authentic, surreal, hospitable, unforgettable. There are no names included because I want this post to be the story of our group as a whole; even though everyone had distinct experiences, perhaps the biggest lesson was that we are all more similar than we think. Often the immense impact that one event can have on someone's life is not understood until long after it takes place, and that as time goes by our appreciation and gratitude for this trip and all the people in it will only grow. As I write this, surrounded by the bustling activity of everyone tying up loose ends for the last day of the trip, I cannot think of a better way to present the culmination of our reflection during the Transference phase, and ultimately the lessons we have learned from this trip. Traveling starts out as an attempt to change one's environment but it always ends up being a dramatic change in one's identity. Get ready America, we're coming home.
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Just Two Sentences

Christopher Peel,Senegal 4-week

Description

What follows is every student’s manifestation of the entire trip in just two sentences. Products of a wonderful Transference activity, we each made a list of ten adjectives or nouns that described the trip, and then made sentences out of our two favorites. Glancing over the list before I type it up, I am amazed […]

Posted On

07/28/14

Author

Christopher Peel

Category

Senegal 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-27 21:56:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-28 03:56:23
    [post_content] => Hi families and friends,

This afternoon we have chosen a really special place for our last activity in country. We were all seated in a circle next to a lake surrounded but trees and so peaceful that it is hard to imagine it is ten minutes away from the busy and noisy center of Dakar. Birds were flying in the sky and late afternoon sun and breeze made quite magical. The instructors were inspired and the students just as good as they have been the whole trip. The ceremony could started.

"We are grateful to you all that have help made this happen; parents for sending your people dear to them, Dragons admin for their support and even those who refused Will a visa so that he could come to Senegal. Thank to all the friends who welcomed us in all the places we stayed. Thank you guys and girls of Senegal '14 for excelling at your jobs and being very supportive to each other"

" Before we part let us present you our the content of our bag of essentials for the next trips....."

After dinner and last RTGs Senegal 4-Week  has left for the airport and is about to board their international flight. See you on the other side of the ocean

Babacar, Elke and Jenny
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Senegal 4-week

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Boarding international flight

Babacar Mbaye,Senegal 4-week

Description

Hi families and friends, This afternoon we have chosen a really special place for our last activity in country. We were all seated in a circle next to a lake surrounded but trees and so peaceful that it is hard to imagine it is ten minutes away from the busy and noisy center of Dakar. Birds were […]

Posted On

07/27/14

Author

Babacar Mbaye

Category

Senegal 4-week

WP_Post Object
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    [post_content] => As our trip dwindles to only a weekend, I am overwhelmed with a wide array of emotions. The undercurrent of all these is a strong upwelling of gratitude. So many people have touched my life over the last four weeks, and so many more back home have done the same thing. And so this is a letter to the people who have already left my life, the ones who will soon, and those who will be there when I go back home.

To the parents of the group: Thank you for taking the risk to send each of us on this trip. Thank you for your credit cards when we were packing, your advice when we were overwhelmed, your emails when we were so far away, and above all, thank you for your undying, unconditional love.

To the crew of family, friends, and teachers behind each student: The foundation of love and support you create has helped each one of us make this jump into the unknown, and we have all come out stronger because of it.

To Saliou, our trekking guide and the namesake of the turtle we adopted at the Sanctuary, To Mamadou, our drum teacher and the guys’ fashion inspiration, To Papis, our in-house rapper and attayah pro: Each of you entered and departed our lives at different points on this trip. You all had different things to teach us, different friendships to offer. But you all showed us a love for Senegal we slowly began to imitate, and how doing what you love makes you a happier, more interesting person.

To Babacar’s family: Thank you for making Yoff home. Thank you to Kine for feeding us the best Senegalese food in all of Senegal. You spoiled us, gave us a critical tongue for the same dishes by different chefs. Thank you to each of Babacar’s children for countless hours of games, laughter, and discussion. Thank you to Babacar’s extended family for allowing us to break fast in your compound, for introducing us to the wonders of dates and Café Touba. Thank you to Babacar’s family in Dene, for opening up your hearts and teaching us so much. Thanks for teaching us how to party, Senegalese style, on that unforgettable 4th of July night. And thank you so much, from the bottom of all of our hearts, to Babacar’s father for passing along wisdom that transcends age, nationality, and religion.

To our daystay and homestay families: Thank you for becoming family. You took us in, fought with us to break down the language barrier, overfed us, laughed with us, created stories that will last a lifetime. You opened up your homes, your hearts, and for that we will be always grateful.

To our instructors: The list of things we can’t thank you for is very short. Your line of work forces you to be a jack of all trades, and despite your wide range of responsibilities, you excel at everything you do. Thanks for being teachers, doctors, role models, friends. But most importantly, to Jenny, Elke, and Babacar, thank you for being you. Your innate talent for teaching and sharing Senegal has changed everyone, but it’s been the other conversations that have impacted us the most. You are all amazing individuals with stories to tell, and it has been a privilege to hear them.

And finally, I speak directly to my fellow group members, the nine people that have been my rocks this summer. Though we talk of mid-winter reunions in Telluride at Michael’s house, I don’t know if after we part ways in Dulles if I will see you again. I hope that through the myriad of modern technologies at our fingertips - and maybe a little snail mail - we will keep close. But even if we don’t, I will never forget you. It has been an honor to brave public transport with you, to dance like no one is watching side by side, to share laughs and mangos and chocopain right out of the bucket. Over the last few weeks, many people have asked me if I came to Senegal with my family. I always answer no, but more and more the answer is yes. Thanks guys. It’s been an adventure.
    [post_title] => An Open Letter of Gratitude
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Best Notes From The Field, Senegal 4-week

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An Open Letter of Gratitude

Anastasia Maranto,Best Notes From The Field, Senegal 4-week

Description

As our trip dwindles to only a weekend, I am overwhelmed with a wide array of emotions. The undercurrent of all these is a strong upwelling of gratitude. So many people have touched my life over the last four weeks, and so many more back home have done the same thing. And so this is […]

Posted On

07/26/14

Author

Anastasia Maranto

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-25 14:37:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-25 20:37:03
    [post_content] => Dear Senegal Students & Families,

 

This weekend marks the end of our Senegal summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

 

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference.  Starting on Saturday, 7/26, should you need any assistance during student travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com. During office hours (M-F, 9:00am-5:00pm M.S.T.) please continue to use our parent line at:800-982-9203 ext. 130.

 Returning Flight: 

July 28th, 2014 

South African Airways #SAA 207

Depart: Dakar (DKR) 2:00am

Arrive: Washington DC (IAD) 6:25am

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Senegal 4-week

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Senegal Return Flight Reminder

Eva Vanek,Senegal 4-week

Description

Dear Senegal Students & Families,   This weekend marks the end of our Senegal summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!   Below is a reminder of the return group flight information […]

Posted On

07/25/14

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

Senegal 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-25 11:04:25
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    [post_content] => Location: Toubab Dialaw

Transference

Being a woman in this world entails many things; both advantages and disadvantages. But being a Senegalese woman entails a life that I could never have imagined as an American woman. Work. Hard, exhausting, never-ending work. Though a growing number work professionally with set hours, the majority of Senegalese women work in their homes from sun up to sun down. Fulfilling the gender role they were born into.

Senegalese women first begin housework as children, the day they can walk and carry a bucket of water on top of their heads. They help their mothers cook, clean, and care for younger siblings. At the age of seven they enter school and if lucky continue on to receive a high school diploma. Though by teenagehood most are already married with one, even two children. They follow their mother's footsteps and fall into an endless cycle: birth, cook, clean. Repeat. I warn you, however, not to be fooled. This birthing, cooking, and cleaning is nothing like in America. In the remote villages of Senegal a lack of proper facilities leads to the death of many women who give birth. And hours are spent slaving under the beating sun to cook a meal that I grew up knowing to take ten minutes in a supermarket and thirty seconds in an American microwave. After the women serve this food to their husbands, who have wandered home from "work," they rest their tired feet and sore hands only momentarily before cleaning dishes and bathing their children.

I witnessed and participated in this daily routine during my daystay in Dindefelo and four night homestay on the island of Niodior. On the second night while breaking fast in the Jungola cartier of Niodior with my 20 year old host sister, we discussed the evolution of the Senegalese woman. Traditionally, she explained, Senegalese wives had no voice in their homes. They served strictly as baby carriers, housemaids, and occasionally punching bags for their husbands. Over time this has changed. The roles of Senegalese women have grown and their voices expanded. Women have been granted rights against abuse, for divorce and professional work. They have come a long way and still fight to reach further.

While I am amazed by Senegalese women and their persistent fight, my reflection is tainted by an American mindset. Yes, gender roles are much more prevalent here than in the U.S., and yes I wish these women were granted more choice in life. But I have also come to understand that Senegalese women embrace the arduous tasks they must complete. They are born to do so. Born strong. Born with an undeniable work ethic. Born with love for song and dance, passion, and great wisdom. Born into a life that I highly respect. A  life of hard, exhausting, never-ending work.
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Senegal 4-week

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A Senegalese Woman

Sophie Demoulas,Senegal 4-week

Description

Location: Toubab Dialaw Transference Being a woman in this world entails many things; both advantages and disadvantages. But being a Senegalese woman entails a life that I could never have imagined as an American woman. Work. Hard, exhausting, never-ending work. Though a growing number work professionally with set hours, the majority of Senegalese women work […]

Posted On

07/25/14

Author

Sophie Demoulas

Category

Senegal 4-week

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Mangrove Planting

Team Senegal,Senegal 4-week

Description

Mangrove planting service project with our homestay community in Niodior.

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Team Senegal

Category

Senegal 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-22 16:57:46
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    [post_content] => Our group has enjoyed our last full day of X-Phase. Our entire day was spent in Dakar, the morning starting at 9 am in Yoff for breakfast. We then spent the morning relaxing, running errands, and compiling everyone's photos onto one computer. We ate lunch at the program house then caught taxis for our first trip to downtown Dakar. The group spent time in a huge market, honing our haggling techniques on a much larger (and louder) scale. After a walk through the city we made it to the docks, where we caught a ferry to Ile de Goree, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important part of the triangle-trade era slave trade. After a tour around the island and a nice dinner, we caught the ferry back to the mainland. Our evening was topped off at the program house with juice from the boabab tree and Senegalese donuts, a mini celebration of sorts. Tomorrow is the exciting transition between X-Phase and Transference. Tomorrow morning may even include a lesson on the beach! What an incredible experience X-Phase has shaped up to be.
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Senegal 4-week

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X-Phase Day 4

Kirsten Einset and Anastasia Maranto,Senegal 4-week

Description

Our group has enjoyed our last full day of X-Phase. Our entire day was spent in Dakar, the morning starting at 9 am in Yoff for breakfast. We then spent the morning relaxing, running errands, and compiling everyone’s photos onto one computer. We ate lunch at the program house then caught taxis for our first […]

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Kirsten Einset and Anastasia Maranto

Category

Senegal 4-week

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Hi family and friends,
The students organized an amazing music lesson in Thies during X-phase that turned into a jam session, that then continued into the next morning.
Here's the hit new single coming from Senegal - featuring Jenny, Michael, Will, Chris and Natalie!

Click the link to download the song!

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Senegal 4-week

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Senegal’s New Hit Single

Jenny, Michael, Will, Chris and Natalie,Senegal 4-week

Description

Hi family and friends, The students organized an amazing music lesson in Thies during X-phase that turned into a jam session, that then continued into the next morning. Here’s the hit new single coming from Senegal – featuring Jenny, Michael, Will, Chris and Natalie! Click the link to download the song! http://wheretherebedragons.com/wp-content/uploads/formidable/usa-senegal-22-natural-voice-WTBD-Senegal-Summer-2014.mp3

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Jenny, Michael, Will, Chris and Natalie

Category

Senegal 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-22 14:19:27
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-22 20:19:27
    [post_content] => 
It’s been a wild and crazy past few days. In some ways, things have been turned on their heads with expedition phase or x-phase. Instructors have become students, students have become instructors. The itinerary was unknown until only a few days ago. On the other hand, over the previous three weeks, this group has learned so much, gained key skills in navigating this previously-unknown landscape, found their groove in how to work together, that x-phase was a natural extension of the course. It was time for the old i-team to take a large step back. It was time to shake things up a bit. Now the student, I find myself wondering in anticipation, thinking of might be on the schedule tomorrow. A music lesson? A dance class? A market excursion? What will we see in Thies? What will we do in Lampoul? Our new i-team is doing wonderfully, calling local contacts to everything from hotel stays in new cities, to transport out to a stay in the desert, to responding to changes in the itinerary like pros. With new group roles every day, everyone’s proven their ability to jump in and tackle whatever is required to deliver an eye-opening, engaging course. We started x-phase in Thies, a larger regional capital close to Dakar but with a much calmer atmosphere than the capital. We then traveled to Lampoul, exploring the desert by foot and by camel. On our way back to Dakar, we stopped at the turtle sanctuary in the village of Noflaye and learned about the local environmental efforts. Now in Dakar, with only this afternoon and tomorrow morning before transference, we are busy exploring this large city. The students have together planned an afternoon on Ile de Goree, an historic village off the coast of Dakar and tightly linked to the history of the slave trade in the region, and tomorrow morning a visit with a local NGO working with street children. I couldn’t have been happier to be a participant on this mini-Dragons’ course the past few days, with such a rockstar i-team at the helm! And so now, without further ado, introducing our new Dragons’ instructors for X-Phase 2014! Souleymane (or Emmanuel): A passionate soccer player, he’s ready at a moment’s notice to pick up a ball for a quick game of the national pastime of ‘foot’. His talent as an animal wrangle has been called upon more than a few times to chase away spiders in the desert or crabs in the mangroves. As the first ‘leader of the day’ with Amadou/Michael, he helped plan an excellent kick-off to X-Phase in Thies!  Amadou (Michael): Armed with his camera, Amadou is the group photographer, helping us capture key experiences and spontaneous moments of beauty throughout the trip. A music lesson in Thies that led way to numerous jam sessions showcased a hidden talent of his – rap. Lookout for the hit new single hitting shelves soon! Neene (Natalie): Neene, a name and also term of endearment in Senegal, means mother in Pulaar. Neene embodies her name well, the happiest when surrounded by a hoard of small children, whether playing games or just enjoying each other’s company. She was the first one to mention the possibility of organizing drumming sessions, which then gave way to an afternoon and a morning jamming out with local artists in Thies! You can hear her rockin’ out on the flute on the Senegal Dragons’ new hit single! Abdou Karim (Adrian): Our first activities’ coordinator, Abdou Karim called contacts one after another until he was able to reach Papa Samba in Thies. He arranged a music lesson for our group, which quickly transformed into a full-out jam session with djembes in one corner, the bongo and flute in another, guitar over to the side and a group testing out the recording studio! He even contributed some amazing vocals on the track! Aminata (Anastasia): Aminata is always on the go – whether tracking down lunch options, engaging in friendly banter with the vendor across the street, or going on fabric-hunting adventures in the local market. Her great French skills – not to mention her huge smile and interest in meeting new people - are a big help in getting things done and arranging logistics with local contacts. As co-leader in Dakar, she’s been instrumental in shaping the last stage of x-phase. Ramatoulaye (Kirsten): Rama’s zest for life comes through in all that she does. A tailor-in-training and budding djembe player, she’s ready to tackle any challenge and to do so smiling the whole way through! She’s helped arrange lodging for our band of 14, which is not always an easy task. And with Aminata, is leading the last charge in Dakar as we transition from x-phase to transference. Saphiatou (Sophie): Saphiatou has been a pro at using her French, even translating for the group during presentations from guest speakers. She loves hearing the stories of the women of Senegal, discussing the similarities and the differences between their experiences as women in Senegal and the United States. As leader, she helped organize a magical time in the desert of Lampoul, complete with camel rides! Ismaila (Will): Ismaila is our new-found beats master after helping to lay the track on the group’s new hit single. He worked with the local mixer at the music studio to complete our American-Senegalese collaborative effort that will hopefully be hitting the airwaves soon. Ready to tackle anything, he’s closing x-phase by managing the groups’ budget as we navigate Dakar with buses, boats, and taxis. Samba (Chris): A talented musician, he’s found a knack and a passion for the djembe, drumming out beats wherever we happen to be. Samba has also proven to not be afraid to ask tough questions about politics or the economy in order to better understand Senegal in the 21st century. As the activities’ master with Awa now that we are in Dakar, he’s been busy arranging activities in this bustling city, taking advantage of all that it has to offer. Awa (Eve): Awa loves to connect one-on-one with people, hearing what they are passionate about. A chef-in-training, she’s jumped into the kitchen quite a few times, without a care for how hot and labor-intensive the work can be. Iron Chef in her future, perhaps? Awa, along with Samba, is working to take advantage of our time in Dakar and to arrange everything from a visit to Ile to Goree to a visit to a local NGO working with street children. [post_title] => A new i-team? 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A new i-team?

Elke, Jenny and Babacar,Picture of the Week, Senegal 4-week

Description

It’s been a wild and crazy past few days. In some ways, things have been turned on their heads with expedition phase or x-phase. Instructors have become students, students have become instructors. The itinerary was unknown until only a few days ago. On the other hand, over the previous three weeks, this group has learned […]

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Elke, Jenny and Babacar

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-22 13:01:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-22 19:01:25
    [post_content] => Day 3 X-Phase

Morning:

Woke up in the beautiful dessert of Lampoule and ate breakfast at the Campement (bread and jam). Then we went on a morning camel ride around the dunes and relaxed for a little while, listening to Senegalese music and chatting.

Afternoon:

We set off on our trip back to Yoff, our home in Dakar, and had a fun ride. We stopped in Thies to pick up the flash drive with the music that some of the group recorded the day before. Its great! Our loyal sept-plus driver enjoyed listening to the music we created. We stopped for lunch at around 3 at a town a little before Thies, where we ordered the fan- favorite omelets, but this time in Wolof. Super rewarding. An hour- ish later we stopped in Noflaye to visit the turtle reserve. Our temporary instructor Papis works there so he gave us a thorough understanding before hand.

Evening:

Home at last! Back in Dakar, we have a little fiesta to celebrate our successful x-phase, and one of our group members winning yak of the week!!!! Woohoo! Then we head over to Babacar Mbaye's  lovely home to chow down on some Mafe with Kine and the rest of the family. Then we set up the plan for tomorrow and returned to the program house.

 
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Senegal 4-week

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Day 3 of X phase

Eve Stein ,Senegal 4-week

Description

Day 3 X-Phase Morning: Woke up in the beautiful dessert of Lampoule and ate breakfast at the Campement (bread and jam). Then we went on a morning camel ride around the dunes and relaxed for a little while, listening to Senegalese music and chatting. Afternoon: We set off on our trip back to Yoff, our […]

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Eve Stein

Category

Senegal 4-week

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