Last Classes, Bandia Game Park and a Farewell Thank You Party

On Monday and Tuesday we had our final lectures on the status of women in Senegal and the heart breaking situation with street children in Senegal’s large cities.  Thousands of children are brought into cities each year where they leave their families of origin.  Parents hope for a better life for their children but many do not experience their childhood as positive and will not see their family for many years.

On Wednesday we went to a Game Park and spent several hours driving through the park in safari vehicles.  We saw large and small animals, many from a larger park in southeastern Senegal.  Others were imported from South Africa. Our guide described the life of the animals and their habitats.  Giraffe feast on the Acacia trees that are spread throughout the park.  Monkeys move in and out of the park as seasons change.  Their preferred food is the fruit of the Baobab tree.  There were many ancient Baobabs in the park.

On Thursday evening we said thank you to our language teachers and our host families. Although the electricity was cut shortly before we began our program and did not reappear until it was time to clean up, the party was a grand success. A highlight was the premier of a Wolof song that David composed for the occasion. The families were very impressed with the Wolof rendition of a song that was intended to offer thanks for all of the hospitality that has been shown to all of us.  Sadly families and students will say goodbye to each other as students leave for their service assignments.  As one mother said,  “there will be a hole in our family” when the student leaves.  “We will miss her very much.”