Five students have service assignments in, or near, Saint-Louis located at the mouth of the Senegal River on the border with Mauritania. Adrienne, Mallori, and Jon work with a church organization providing educational assistance to women. Molly and Paul work with a government supervised agricultural project connected to the University. Excerpts from their recent journal entries give some insight into their experiences.
Here are several random pictures, taken during the first six weeks, that did not make it into earlier postings. Through many shared experiences our group developed close bonds with each other and with our hosts.
One assignment during the past six weeks was for students to work singly or in pairs and interview a small business owner. Students were to find out how the person learned their skill or how they got started in their business.
On Saturday, 12 June, students departed Thiès for service assignments scattered throughout the country. There was excitement and nervousness in the air as good-byes were said. Some farewells with host family members were difficult and emotional.
This week was the conclusion of the “study” portion of the term, and the last days activities included language testing and a time to evaluate all the different aspects of the program thus far. Although this can be tedious and tiring, it also provides invaluable information for those who will plan future SST’s here in Senegal.
Manufactures Sénégalaises des Arts Décoratifs, located in Thiès, was one of the artistic centers inspired by President Senghor in the 1960’s. Designs for the brightly colored tapestries are chosen from paintings submitted by Senegalese and other African artists.
Joal was the boyhood home of Senegal’s first president and poet Léopold Sédar Senghor. During our stay in Joal we visited the Senghor home and museum where a guide told us about his life and contributions.
On our recent field trip to Joal-Fadiout we stopped at Bandia Game Reserve. We enjoyed observing African animals close up in their natural habitat. The park was created in 1990 and contains species native to Senegal and from other parts of Africa. We ended our stay with a picnic in the shade of a tree.
Our recent lecture on music took place at Thiès Regional Museum housed in a small old fort. Our lecturer described traditional uses of music and musical styles. He brought others with him to demonstrate jembe (drums), several stringed instruments and the balafon. At the end of the lecture students had an opportunity to visit the museum that preserves important history of Thiès.
This week (June 3) at Chez Goshen the meal was made by Alysha, Leah, Erin, Noah, Josh, and Patrick. It included preparing vegetables and fruit, cooking rice, beans, and cookies in a hot kitchen, and improvising to make “Café Touba” (a sweet spiced Senegalese coffee) using an old sock for a filter. We sang together, looked at plans for service locations, discussed a recent assignment to interview small businesses, and enjoyed the meal. Afterwards there was time for conversation, games, and walks through the neighborhood.