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PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal


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    [post_content] => Waking up at home in Ojai for the second morning since our return, I have shaken off the effects of two long plane rides--but not, thankfully, the memories of our magnificent journey to Senegal. What a sense of pride I feel in the eight students who took the "deep dive" into Senegalese culture with Elke and Samba, Donald and me. What a feeling of gratitude I have as I reflect on the people who contributed to our three weeks of adventure on the edge of the Sahel in West Africa. And what a feeling of optimism I feel as I think of the future of the Marvin Shagam Program for Ethics and Global Citizenship ("ShaGlo," to the insiders). As I told the group during our "transference" exercises in Dene, my thoughts about the experience and about them were revealed in the title of a song that kept ringing through my head while in Senegal: "No Place I'd Rather Be."

On the one hand, the memories of our time in Africa are kind of blurry; on the other hand, when I think of the people whom we met, the images are words and songs are crystal clear. The associates of Elke in Yoff and Niodior, the families of Samba and Babakar, the Peace Corps personnel, our hosts in Niodior and Thies and Dene, the guides, the special guests who offered their insights into culture, politics, religion, and immigration, the beautiful and friendly residents who warmly greeted us each day--all these gracious and admirable figures made the trip real for us. And now that we are home, we will consider how we can apply the lessons learned on this sojourn in Senegal to our global consciousness at Thacher. We are so fortunate to have had this opportunity to expand our understanding and to make new friends. Our thanks to Simon, Jenny, and Chris in Boulder for helping me set up this partnership; to Elke and Samba for expertly and lovingly guiding us through the magic of the country; to the benefactors of our program back at Thacher; and most of all, to the good, kind people of Senegal who welcomed us into their homes and hearts every day. Unforgettable!
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PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

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Thacher Teacher/Trip Leader

Jake Jacobsen,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

Waking up at home in Ojai for the second morning since our return, I have shaken off the effects of two long plane rides–but not, thankfully, the memories of our magnificent journey to Senegal. What a sense of pride I feel in the eight students who took the “deep dive” into Senegalese culture with Elke and Samba, Donald and […]

Posted On

07/8/16

Author

Jake Jacobsen

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    [post_content] => On the second night of my home stay in Niodoor, I was surprised by a familiar sound. My host brother had pulled out his phone, and had begun playing the song, We are the World. Around me were my eight new brothers, all hunched around a small phone, listening to the classic icons of American pop. The voices of Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and many others floated out of the tiny phone, seeming to put me and my new brothers in a trance. Looking around me, I saw not just a group of teenagers listening to a song, but a connection between the whole world. Only days before the trip, I remember gathering around a piano with my parents and singing We are the World. Now, only two weeks later, I was on the other side of the world, bonding over the exact same song. After this experience, I decided I wanted to delve deeper into the impact of Western music in Senegal.

Days later, I talked to the guy who had given me my Senegalese name, Aliou Sarr. When asked about the influence of Western music in his own life, he told me that American music was a way for him to connect and see the world outside of Senegal. He told me that seeing Western pop stars and hearing their music motivated him to continue studying in school and gave him the dream of going to America. He cited pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Rihanna, and said that he looked up to these artists as heroes and role models. For him, listening to American music represented a dream that he was striving to achieve. Beyond that, knowing American music represented a connection for him. It was a way for him to relate to the world outside of his own country, and gave him something that he shared with the rest of the world. He said that music was a way for people to connect and bond beyond the language barrier, and in a way, acted as a lingua franca.

For me, his words truly brought the Senegalese experience together. Music, along with many other means, represents a connection that everyone in the world has. Although I could not speak the language of my host brothers, I could listen to and sing American music with them. Regardless of what culture you belong to, music is listened to and sung. It is something that everyone in the world shares, and everyone in the world can bond over. Although I thought I would not have much in common with the people in Senegal, talking to Aliou about music and many other experiences have taught me that everyone in the world has many things in common, and that despite the efforts of media to depict people in Africa as different from the United States, we are all human, and the majority of our lives we share in common.

During our time in the village of Dene, the Maribou spoke about humans as a whole. He talked about how everyone, regardless of where he or she is from, takes aspirin when they have a headache and can all swim in the same ocean. He mentioned many other things that we have in common and asserted that everyone in the world is already connected to one another. Although he moved on from this topic, his words had a deep effect on me. In the world that we live in, we often emphasize individuality and the massive differences between cultures. Yet, we often overlook the fact that we share much in common. Regardless of whether you live in New York City, Ojai, Dakar, or Niodoor, you will lay down at the end of the day and sleep. We will all have to work, and we all need food and drink. Furthermore, we all feel human emotion. Regardless of who you are, you will feel happiness and joy, but also anger, pain, and jealousy. I feel that we spend the majority of our efforts focusing on the small differences between us, and not on the greater things that bond us together. We see something small that someone else has, and we quickly grow jealous. This jealousy can often fracture a relationship and pull people apart.

This trip has made me realize how similar we all are, and that everyone is human. We will all have moments when we are angry or jealous, but it is important to realize that it is simply human that we feel these emotions, and what is important is the actions that follow. We should be grateful for our similarities, not jealous of our differences.
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PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

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Human bonds

Jeffrey Ding,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

On the second night of my home stay in Niodoor, I was surprised by a familiar sound. My host brother had pulled out his phone, and had begun playing the song, We are the World. Around me were my eight new brothers, all hunched around a small phone, listening to the classic icons of American […]

Posted On

07/6/16

Author

Jeffrey Ding

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    [post_content] => We are currently sitting at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Looking back on our time in Senegal, we have learned from, spoken with, befriended, and engaged with so many different people, different stories and different ways of living.

As we close our course, we would like to thank the following people in particular for helping to define our experience:

- Lika, our Niodior mom
- Escana, a young man from Niodior who has twice tried to go to Spain
- Kine, our Yoff and Dene mom
- Awa, Peace Corps Senegal Gender Specialist
- Elke, our mom, protector, teacher and friend for the whole trip
- Samba, our fearless leader and hilarious friend/mentor
- Tonton Jackie, our lovely uncle who is always supporting us
- Donald, our protector against vendors
- Mata Faye, one of the wonderful host sisters - an incredible, independent, modern, optimistic, strong Senegalese woman
- our host families - thank you for taking care of us, always smiling at me, tolerating my tutti wolof (and teaching us new words every day), being patient, and always making us feel inclusive
- Etiene Senghor, Director of the Peace Corps Senegal Training Center
- Mayassine, for welcoming us into his community in Dene and praying for us
- the young dancing boys at Dene who worked us over just before ndogou, breaking fast
- Diaw, the homie driver

And countless other community members along the journey who welcomed us in to their homes, neighborhoods and lives.
And a huge thank you to all of our family and friends back home for supporting our experience, both before and after the course.

 

We can only begin to enumerate the lessons that we've learned. And many more will most likely show themselves in the days, weeks, months and even years to come. For the present moment, we would like to share with others and remind ourselves:

- Appreciate the unknown and see it as an opportunity to expand and discover knowledge. "Learn until you die!" as Awa's mother always told her.
- We are all human. We may be separated by materials goods, but we are all connected.
- The sense of community and family. Interaction between people should be based on friendship, love and trust, instead of drive by some outside intentions and desires other than the interaction itself.
- The importance of powerful women and the profound impact a mother can have.
- Don't sweat the small stuff.
- Prepare thoroughly for toilet visits.
- Feminism may have to be redefined according to cultural traditions.
- Greetings are key!
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We’re on our way!

the whole Senegal crew!,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

We are currently sitting at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Looking back on our time in Senegal, we have learned from, spoken with, befriended, and engaged with so many different people, different stories and different ways of living. As we close our course, we would like to thank the following people in particular […]

Posted On

07/6/16

Author

the whole Senegal crew!

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    [post_content] => 

 The day we visited Touba was a day I will never forget, even though there is a part of me that wants to. We started the day with a long and grueling bus ride to the city, during which we were warned multiple times by Elke and Samba to make sure everything was covered; from our hair to our ankles, when we step off the bus. The weather was nice to us, not being as excruciatingly hot as it was a week ago, but even so, we were all sweating when we arrived. After driving up to the place where our guide was waiting for us, all the girls pulled out long scarves with which we covered up our hair, and with the help of Elke and some hair pins, we secured the scarves to our head. Even with all of us making sure meticulously that all the girls were dressed properly, Emmy was immediately berated by the guide as soon as we stepped off the bus. Her dress, he said to Elke, gesturing to the slight slit on the side of her dress, she needs to change. He pulled out a wrap skirt that he had brought with him and demanded that she change before entering the mosque. Jeffrey and Mr. Okpalugo were given long robes to wear instead of their own clothes, which showed their knees. In addition, we were all given socks to wear inside the mosque, because we couldn't wear our shoes inside.

Touring the mosque was interesting for some parts and enraging in others. The fist room we were brought to was a giant hall with beautiful ceiling art. Each section of the ceiling was carefully sculpted and designed by different local artists. The bright colors, beautiful shapes, and intricate craftsmanship of the ceiling gave the room a bold and daring feel. Just as we were marveling at the beauty of the room, our guide told us that it came with a price: since all the tiles were imported from Italy, the room itself cost almost 18 million dollars to constuct, and the mosque itself is the most heavily funded architectural work to be built in Senegal. Given the impoverished state many Senegalese people live in and the lack of educational funding, one has to wonder if the spiritual fulfillment of an extravagant mosque can compare to the many physical needs of the citizens of Senegal.

Next, we were led to a large library that housed some of the oldest archives and religious passages written by previous mariboos and prophets. Despite the precious artifacts it held, the library was not climate controlled, nor were the books protected by any sort of glass case or plastic layering. When we asked our guide why this was, he did a fabulous job of avoiding the question and proceeded to lead us away from the library. Despite its fault however, the library is not exclusive to any certain group of people, so anyone who wants to can go in and research or read.

 

At the end of the day, after being treated to a wonderful lunch by our tour guide at his house, we climbed back into our bus, hot and sweaty, and peeled off the scarves around heads gratefully. After a long and exhausting day; both mentally and physically, our air conditioned rooms and the welcoming streets of Thiess were a relieving change.

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PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

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Toubabs in Touba, reflections on our day trip to the holy city of mouridism

Mary Yan,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

 The day we visited Touba was a day I will never forget, even though there is a part of me that wants to. We started the day with a long and grueling bus ride to the city, during which we were warned multiple times by Elke and Samba to make sure everything was covered; from […]

Posted On

07/6/16

Author

Mary Yan

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    [post_content] => As we are adding more field notes and sharing more stories from the past three weeks, we are also happy to share more videos as well!

youtube trip playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF4W0Xn2PzdebWSJ68fRUwrkwBYwj-fvZ

videos from Dene: https://youtu.be/vetkhYlh9Wk   And.   https://youtu.be/GTsQNanbDYo

 

Improv jam jam session on Ile de Goree:  https://youtu.be/Cs2AmVPWx1o
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More footage!

I-team,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

As we are adding more field notes and sharing more stories from the past three weeks, we are also happy to share more videos as well! youtube trip playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF4W0Xn2PzdebWSJ68fRUwrkwBYwj-fvZ videos from Dene: https://youtu.be/vetkhYlh9Wk   And.   https://youtu.be/GTsQNanbDYo   Improv jam jam session on Ile de Goree:  https://youtu.be/Cs2AmVPWx1o

Posted On

07/6/16

Author

I-team

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    [post_content] => When we were first asked what we wanted to study for our ISPs, I immediately thought of two possible research topics: Senegal's healthcare system or education opportunities within the country. I wrote about possible ways to approach each topic and thought of who I could potentially reach out to within the community of Niojior that would be helpful resources. Throughout the course, it has been the personal connections and discussions with Senegalese people that have made the most impact on me. Choosing my ISP was no different and my plan was completely changed by a conversation we had the next day. As a group, we met with a young man named Askana who shared with us the story behind his two unsuccessful attempts of immigrating to Spain by boat. He spoke of the reasons that pushed him to embark on such a dangerous trip and immediately I wanted to know more. Subsequently, my topic is not particularly concise. Mainly I focused on university education and how that relates to the job market in Senegal, and the cultural reasons behind Senegalese immigration.

In addition to speaking with Askana, I also interviewed Ibou Mbaye, a middle aged Senegalese man who has personally experienced the hardships of the job market in Senegal, and Ngouda, a current student at Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. When speaking to both of them, I was struck by the differences between the American system and what they had and were experiencing. In the U.S., the expectations for a young student are very clear. You go to high school and after you go to college. From there you either find a job or go to graduate school. Everything is very structured, and while there are exceptions, it still exists in sharp contrast to the life of a Senegalese student. In the past 10 years, Ngouda is one of 10 students to go to university from his town. The vast majority of students had been forced to drop out earlier due to a variety of reasons including an inability to access good schools, pay for expenses, pass entrance exams and due to safety concerns. In the end, however, the purpose of going to university is so that, afterwards, you can get a good job and provide for your family. If you are able to reach the masters level, then a degree can be instrumental in finding a job in Senegal. Ngouda, for instance, is in his final year of university for getting his masters degree in English. After school, he wants to become an English teacher. For him, this dream job is relatively easy to attain because he has stayed in school. The majority of his friends, however, were unable to reach that level of education and dropped out. For them, job opportunities are substantially smaller. This then raises the question, what is the point of going to university and spending your money if you are going to end up using a lower degree for your job? Ibou Mbaye did not go to university because, in his words, that only complicates things. "What is the point of getting an English degree when all of the available jobs are related to agriculture?" Ibou asked. He did not want to be in the same position as some of his friends, where after 15 years of schooling, they ended up with a job that they easily could have done before. When faced with this inability to get a sustainable job, for many, the solution is to immigrate abroad. Twice, Askana has boarded a small boat and set off for Spain, and twice he has been returned to Senegal by the Spanish government. Usually it is not as difficult to get into the country, and Askana told us that if he had the opportunity, he would try again. He spoke of how hard it is to see on Facebook photos of friends to have gone abroad and become successful when it is so hard for him here. Family is incredibly important to Senegalese culture and as a twenty-something year old man, Askana sees is as his duty to take care of his parents and support his family. He would do anything to be able to give back to them the years that they took care of him as a child. He would be willing to die in trying to achieve this goal, and he has voluntarily risked his life in taking the boat ride from Senegal to Spain. This fact was incredibly powerful to me because I cannot imagine that same level of risk being taken for the same reason in the U.S. Listening to Askana's story also reminded me of the fact that everyone has a story. Walking down the streets of Spain, it would be easy to scoff at the vendors selling sunglasses and nail clippers. But maybe one of those men is Askana, the man who found an extra gallon of gas when his boat was stranded in the middle of the ocean and all hope was lost, the man who quite possibly saved the lives of all 86 passengers who were crammed onto a small boat. Maybe that man is sending home money to put food on his parents table or send his daughter to school.

While I have learned many lessons on this trip, one of the most prominent has been the realization that to really learn about a culture and to really experience something foreign, you have to go there. You have to talk to the people, listen to what they have to say, learn from it, a take a step back in order to try to see things from their perspective.

 
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Zanna’s ISP: Senegalese Job Market and Immigration

Zanna Stutz,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

When we were first asked what we wanted to study for our ISPs, I immediately thought of two possible research topics: Senegal’s healthcare system or education opportunities within the country. I wrote about possible ways to approach each topic and thought of who I could potentially reach out to within the community of Niojior that […]

Posted On

07/5/16

Author

Zanna Stutz

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JULY 1st

 

The Daara happens everyday in Dene from four until Ndougou in the afternoon. People gather at the cement building with no walls and no paint in the middle of the village. It’s said that the marabout followed some spirit that only he could see to this place, with his students, followers and family in 1998. They established the little village with the Daara at the center from a barren, desolated land with only brownish, yellow sand.

 

The Marabout’s voice sudenly raised and the every one started to sing. A women sitting in the front wth a microphone was the soloist, and the Marabout himself along with several other young men was the drummer. People’s bodies sway back and forth with the beat, snapping the first two beat and bending the body slightly forwards on the third beat. The mlody was repetitive but powerful, and the Marabout’s exaggerated facial expressions and dance moves were too shocking that they were almost scary.

 

We joined the daara session some time later, sitting in the back, and trying to understand the marabout’s intepretaion of the Quran according to his voice and body language. And suddenly, the leading singer began to sing a Welcome, America song, and the everybody joined. Even the little kids a third of my height knew all the lyrics, and they screamed the song all the way through. The harmony put together by the community was incredible. It was said that Marabout Mayacine is trying to start a new brotherhood based on music and dancing, even though they are all currently in the Mouride Brotherhood.

 

The Marabout officially welcomed us before Ndougou, and the entire community ate their first date of the day together. The date will be extra sweet tomorrow when we are going to try fasting. : ) Dinner followed soon after: NEBBE (with a ~ on top of “N”), rice and hard boiled eggs.

 

Other featuring of the day:

 

Mango Yao the baby turtle, The Pink lake being black and a super disappointed Devon, Barbie Dream House in Den, Jamie the former Princeton bridge year student joining the group…

 

Always excited for the tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the rest of my journey. : )

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First Day in Dene

Yao Yin,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

  JULY 1st   The Daara happens everyday in Dene from four until Ndougou in the afternoon. People gather at the cement building with no walls and no paint in the middle of the village. It’s said that the marabout followed some spirit that only he could see to this place, with his students, followers […]

Posted On

07/5/16

Author

Yao Yin

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-04 22:36:53
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    [post_content] => Field Note from 6/27

I feel extremely confident saying that we all loved our time on Niojior and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of connecting with and becoming part of a family. However, Niojior was a rural island and there was something enjoyable in a different way about returning to Thies: the land of AC, real beds, real showers, and busy markets filled with everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to colorful wax print fabrics. Annie and Mary lost no time in finding the supermarket that is located right around the block from our hotel. In the short time that we've been here, I think that we've managed to make so many trips to the supermarket that already we have become the shop keeper's favorite Toubobs. Shalan and I were on breakfast duty and were able to restock the breakfast box with a whole variety of old favorites and unprecedented items: cereal, multiple favors of jam, yoghurt, Laughing Cow cheese, Chocopain (the Senegalese version of Nutella made with peanuts instead of hazelnuts), and a few loaves of slightly sweet bread filled with dried coconut and topped with crunchy sugar. The supermarket also has icecream. I think that alone makes our love for the supermarket pretty slef-explanatory... :)

After waking up to cold AC blowing on my face, and taking a real shower where the water comes out of a faucet above your head with a satisfactory amount of pressure, I have decided that I am a big fan of Thies. I spent the morning walking around the large market that's located only a couple blocks from the hotel with a few other girls from the group. We did our last round of picking out fabric that we liked to give to the tailor. Elke made it very clear that this would be our last trip to the tailor because, as she said, at some point we really do need to stop getting new clothes made.

Before lunch, we gathered as a group to read and discuss an article/study. As something usually given to foreigners as an introduction to American culture, the article outlined 13 values that are associated with the majority of Americans, explained them in our cultural context, and described how they are contrasted by values commonly found in more traditional societies. Among others, the list included change, time and it's control, privacy/individualism, and directness/openness/honesty. We then took these American values and compared them to things we have observed and learned about Senegalese culture. Personally, this discussion forced me to realize that some things that I have come to believe are applicable everywhere, and actually unique aspects of American culture. Take the idea of privacy, for instance. In the U.S., when a guest comes to visit, they are usually given their own room as a sign of respect for their privacy. However, in Senegalese culture, privacy often comes with the negative connotations of loneliness and isolation. So, when I was welcomed into my host family on Niojior, I stayed in a relatively small room with three other sisters that were approximately my age. On the first night, I was invited to sleep in the bed with all of them. It was only after I explained that I had to sleep in a big hut that they allowed me to take up all the remaining free space in the room by dragging in a spare mattress so that I could be on the floor right next to them. My 3 sisters shared their clothes with me despite the fact that I had brought my own, made sure that I never missed a meal despite the fact that they were fasting, and constantly brought me around to do things with them, even if it just meant sitting a reading a book next to them as they studied for finals. All in all, I was given no privacy because that would have been considered rude. Instead, I was included in everything because I was a part of their family. Even their concept of family is seen completely differently between Senegalese and American cultures. In the U.S., if you are living with your parents as an adult it is looked down upon. You are seen as dependent on them, unable to work hard enough to support yourself. While in Senegal, many people have the opinion that American parents don't love their children because they are kicked out of the house after they turn 18. In Niojior, I lived in a family compound and never officially understood the "correct" relationship between myself and all of the kids that always seemed to be around. Out of my 3 sisters that I described earlier, in fact, I believe that one of them was a sister, one of them was a cousin, and one was a completely unrelated girl who was living with my family so that she could go to high school. Living with your parents as an adult is seen as a way to give back to them all of the years that they spent raising you. It is looked at with respect and pride instead of scorn. Change, progress and development, all of which are extremely valued in American culture, are contrasted by the Senegalese values for tradition, equality by rank and status, directness by indirectness and the importance of "saving face." Personally, I found the article and our group's discussion to be incredibly interesting. However, we did come to the conclusion that were to you bring race or gender into the picture, it instantly became less relevant. In a more general sense, it was very accurate and created a different perspective for looking at things that we have constantly been surrounded by in our lives.

Later in the day, we met with a man named Cheikh Mamadou Kandji. Kandji worked as a nurse for the majority of his professional career but now was a traditional healer. Kandji continued in the footsteps of his father and focused on all of the things that traditional medicine can heal but modern medicine cannot. Within this list of 6 maladies, was hemorrhoids which, for some inexplicable reason, he especially enjoyed talking to us about. He even read from a decaying pamphlet to us about the effects of hemorrhoids and why they are so uncomfortable... Kandji used only plants for his work and although he was very religious, did not use singing, voodoo or religious methods with his patients. He told us that he himself finds all of the plants in nearby areas. He spends up to days at a time looking for, digging, drying and pounding the local plants that he uses for medicine. He could not, however, share any details as to what kinds of plants he uses for fear of someone else stealing his recipes. As foreigners, it seemed unlikely that we could infringe on his business even if we had wanted to, and it didn't exactly help his legitimacy claim either. He did seem unique in his way of practicing because of his background as a nurse and the way that he mixed that into his work. He understood the limitations of traditional medicine in comparison to modern medicine and often uses modern techniques for diagnosing his patients.

We finished our day with dinner at Samba's house. We started our conversations about brotherhoods in Senegal, especially the Mourid Brotherhood, in preparation for our day trip to the holy city of Touba tomorrow!

Sending lots of love back home,

Zanna
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PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

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Air Conditioning, Privacy, Hemorrhoids, and Religion

Zanna Stutz,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

Field Note from 6/27 I feel extremely confident saying that we all loved our time on Niojior and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of connecting with and becoming part of a family. However, Niojior was a rural island and there was something enjoyable in a different way about returning to Thies: the land of AC, real […]

Posted On

07/4/16

Author

Zanna Stutz

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    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-07-01 09:49:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-01 15:49:18
    [post_content] => 

We are entering the second half of our trip with a long lazy regular Niodiour morning started by desperate animal screams and crunching sounds of people busily walking on shells. Unfortunately most (if not all) of our buddies who are usually bubbly alive are currently suffering from nauseousness or fevers (Maybe too much Ceebujen).

I spent the morning looking for places just to sit down and read along the beach. Walking slowly in the sand with a humid warm air and spontaneous breezes, all that we can see are bright blue and red plastic bags and other trash, with dead fish in between and goats snuffling on them. When the breeze came, the mixed smell of sea salt and dead animals managed to slip into my nose again, and reminded me of the bloated dead goat we saw just a few hundred meters down the coast. We didn't stay long under that tree we found, where black and brown goats with white stripes were sitting under the tree next to us, napping; where little girls were playing, clapping, dancing and splashing the sand five meters away.

Lunch was my favorite dish in Senegal, big salad plate with lettuce, tomatoes, fries, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and fish with a lemonish salad dressing, and we started the afternoon with our regular Wolof lesson and the unforgettable story of Escana.

Imagine traveling on a wodden boat about fifteen meters long and eight meters wide with limited water and food, carrying 90 Senegalese young men willing to risk their life to be on open ocean for two weeks in order to get to Spain. Escana was one of those young men, hoping to find a stable job in order to support his big and yet still constantly expanding family. Imagine surviving the travel on the sea, the disease and the lack of necessities and finally reach the coastlines of Spain, but is immediately imprisoned in a military base afterwards. Every 10 days, the government of Spain chooses men from all the Senegalese that have arrived based on their education, relatives in Spain and financial ability to allow into the borders of Spain, and the others are sent a few months later on an airplane back to their hometown. Escana attempted the immigration, which is very common nowadays in Senegal due to the high unemployment rate and poverty, two times in his 27 years of life. Both times failed, and he was so certain that he is going to try again and again in the future. His strong and true story really struck me. I wonder how many Senegalese young men are still risking their lives right now even though the hope for immigration is so faint.

We dedicated our late afternoons in Mangrove reforestation, soaking our feet in salty sea mud (natural sea spa!). We picked the ripe “seeds” on existing Mangroves with two inches of brown color in the end and arrange them in neat rows, and walked back home for Ndougou with the orange sunset and the white mowing cows.

My bud is always tomorrow. : )

 

(Evening activity: Talk with Elke's host dad about the Credit Union in Niodiour and the development of the city in general)

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Stories of migration

Sara Yin,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

We are entering the second half of our trip with a long lazy regular Niodiour morning started by desperate animal screams and crunching sounds of people busily walking on shells. Unfortunately most (if not all) of our buddies who are usually bubbly alive are currently suffering from nauseousness or fevers (Maybe too much Ceebujen). I […]

Posted On

07/1/16

Author

Sara Yin

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-07-01 09:23:59
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-01 15:23:59
    [post_content] => 

On many occasions throughout my life, I have hear the phrase "it takes a village", but it never proved it's significance to me until today. This morning I woke to the crowing of a rooster and echos of children in my compound as I have for the past week, and when I looked out my window the palms continued to sway in the morning breeze but waking up today felt utterly different. It marked my last morning in Njiore. As I packed up my belongings this morning with my host sister I couldnt help but feel as if my pack was slightly heavier, now full of new memories and a new identity that I recieved in Nijore. When I first arrived in the village, I was just one of the 12 new "tubobs" (foreigner in wolof), but leaving I was Khudy Thiare of the Thiare family. This made leaving Njiore so much harder as I was not only leaving the mangroves and coconuts, but I was leaving my family. I can assure you though that this connection did not happen over night, it took a village. To move from the awkard and uncomfortable moments to the ones filled with smiles and laughter, it took going to school with my sister. It took fetching water from the local well, talking to a native and his attempt to reach Spain, greetings with grandmas, and a lot of wolof lessons . The way not only my homestay but the entire village opened us with welcome arms made for an experience like no other. This proved especially true on our walk out to the docks to catch our boat to Jifer. On the way there, all of our homestay siblings walked with us and expressed their joy for our visit and sorrow for our departure. Village children who we had never met before accompanied us to the docks and waited with us in the morning sun when our boat was late. When our luggage was all loaded and the motor began to humm, we were sent off with an abundence of smiles. In that moment, I was so moved. Here are these people that have done nothing but give us a place to sleep, prepare our food, and wash our dirty clothes for a week and they remain so humbe and even gracious. This is when I realized that it truly took a village for me to understand the importance of human connection and the importance of my travels in Senegal. The stories that I shared with my host family will stay with them in Nijore and theirs will surely stay in my heart forever.

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It takes a village

Devon Roberts,PARTNERSHIP: Thacher School Senegal

Description

On many occasions throughout my life, I have hear the phrase “it takes a village”, but it never proved it’s significance to me until today. This morning I woke to the crowing of a rooster and echos of children in my compound as I have for the past week, and when I looked out my […]

Posted On

07/1/16

Author

Devon Roberts

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