Grace, Justine, and Naomi have been spending their service in Pire Goureye, one of the new GC service sites this year. Pire Goureye is a village located approximately 40 kilometers north of Thiès, just outside the town of Tivaoune. Grace and Naomi are living with host families from the Pular ethnicity and Justine is staying on the other side of the village with a family that speaks Wolof. Our connection to the town came through a Brazilian missionary, Nalu, who has been working in the village for close to 8 years. The SSTers’ official placement is working with Nalu to provide children’s activities several days a week and a women’s craft initiative on Friday afternoons. For Grace, Justine, and Naomi becoming in Pire Goureye often happens sitting in the shade of the various lime, mango or other trees in the family courtyards during long, hot afternoons and laying on large mats stargazing with their family members after the Ramadan fast is broken each evening.
Karsten and Nick have been spending their service time at the Beer-Sheba Project (described in a previous post). Much of their service at Beer Sheba involves physical labor, as they work alongside and cultivate relationships with the other volunteers, interns and day laborers at Beer Sheba. So far, their projects have included hauling dirt to help protect the dormitories and classrooms that house interns from the rains; digging holes to plant banana trees in a papaya forest that is transitioning to a banana forest; trimming trees; composting and bagging young saplings that will be planted in and around Beer-Sheba; and the ongoing weeding and harvesting of the garden plots surrounding the dormitory. Part of their becomings on service have happened off campus, where they live in two concessions with Serer families outside of the Beer-Sheba compound. Their presence in both places has been a service to the larger hopes of the Beer-Sheba Project in that Karsten’s and Nick’s relationships with their host families have helped to form a deeper connection between Beer-Sheba and the local community.