Summer 2008 SST Unit in Senegal

The Summer 2008 unit has returned but we'll leave this record of their journey here.

Thu, 1 May 2008

Students Arrive in Dakar

After 24 hours of traveling, the students arrived happy and in remarkably good form. The Phare de l'Espérance, Lighthouse of Hope, is a conference center where students are staying for a brief orientation. The center is situated on the coast next to a lighthouse at the farthest west point in Africa.

Posted at 21:51 #

A Ceremonial Welcome

The Senegalese tea ceremony, ataya, is mastered by night watchmen working through the long nights. The lighthouse center night watchman prepared, and welcomed our students with, the foaming mixture of green tea, sugar, and mint essence just before midnight.

Posted at 22:15 #

Fri, 2 May 2008

Waking up in Africa

Students awakened to a new world this morning. Having arrived in the dark last night, they were unaware of the views they would see with the light of day. After a moment together to gaze out over the water and reflect on where they now are, it was time to explore. A hill with a lighthouse was screaming "climb me" and we answered the call. It was definitely worth the trek. From the lighthouse we observed the farthest west point in Africa. After a lesson in watts and progress from the lighthouse keeper, we grabbed the opportunity to take our first group shot.

Posted at 20:52 #

Beginning Orientation

Mr. Alain Badiane, our host, and Miss Elisabeth Schmelzel, an American working in Dakar, provided a collective glimpse into the varied perspectives of Senegalese life. They shared insightful experiences that were invaluable as we prepared to meet our new families later in the day.

Posted at 06:05 #

Tue, 13 May 2008

Meeting Families

After the first day of orientation students rode a bus to the well-know landmark, Ceasar's, farther into the city. They met a new family there and went home for their first night separated from peers. It is now time to learn about the famous Senegalese teranga (hospitality) firsthand.

Posted at 21:25 #

Orientation Wrap-up

At first sight, some can hardly believe that Chez Goshen is hidden behind this unfinished façade. Once inside, everyone happily found a comfortable and cozy place to settle in for a second and final day of orientation. Chez Goshen is conveniently located near Patisserie La Provençale, a great bakery. What better way to wrap up an orientation than with desserts and pastries. It is a French location after all!

Posted at 21:44 #

Meet Chez Goshen

Reminiscent of the "secret garden," a back door to Chez Goshen reveals the only SST home base with a combination garden and classroom annex. The whimsical entrance can be deceiving, however, as some very serious studying takes place inside. The oral repetition of elementary Wolof phrases that can be heard in the streets outside adds to the intrigue of Chez Goshen and immediately aroused the curiosity of the locals. In a matter of days, the entire neighborhood could give our lecturers directions to the local toubab hangout.

Melle. Aïssatou Tounkara gave an introduction to the Wolof language last week. We soon discovered that undertaking even a few words of Wolof opens the door of an already hospitable people even wider here. While the language proves a formidable chore to master, there is abundant grace from our hosts for even the most feeble of attempts.

Dr. Bryan Steele, an American medical doctor working in Dakar, gave a brief yet thorough overview of medical issues in Senegal. With 15 years experience here, he was able to give us a few wise tips in cross-cultural relations as well.

Following a quick haircut by Leslee in the upstairs salon (another SST exclusive), it was back to the books. Professor Ibrahima Thioub is from the Department of History at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop and lectured on the formulative history of Senegal and Islam. Recognized internationally, he has worked with numerous projects, including UNESCO, and written extensively on both subjects.

Posted at 22:59 #

Getting to Know Senegal

When studying the location of Senegal, one quickly understands the geographic significance of the region for trade as well as the competition by assorted powers in Europe, including France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Portugal. After occupying what was already a famous slave trade port, France increased her foothold on various native empires by expanding the Senegalese territory.

Maps are difficult to find here and not often helpful when asking directions. The Senegalese use landmarks when giving directions, so be sure to note the local pharmacie and fruit stand when familiarizing yourself. But, no worries! Getting lost is another opportunity to catch some rest in the shade and converse with the locals. This week we are enjoying a cold front with temperatures getting down into the 70's. Dakar is currently in the dry season. In June we will experience a transition to a humid season and much higher temperatures. Unlike the "cooler" Dakar, some interior locations can reach as high as 130°F.

Dakar's population is an estimated 2.5 million, and more people move into the outlying districts daily. The amount of construction here is mind-boggling. Stacks of cement blocks are in front of virtually every row of buildings. But use caution when approaching these stacks from the side opposite traffic. Not infrequently you will find a family living inside, as seen in these photos from both perspectives (right).

Posted at 16:07 #

Trip to Saint-Louis and Thies

Our trip to Saint-Louis began early Friday morning, once we found the bus and the driver. Then, after pushing the bus around the soccer field awhile, we managed to get it started and climbed aboard. Photos cannot express the unique interior we found inside or our fondness of it, but we gave it our best shot!

Two hours later we arrived at our first stop in Thies to visit the Senegalese Interior Mission. There we picked up sandwiches for the trip to Saint-Louis and listened to Pastor José Oliveria speak about missions and the presence of NGO's in Senegal and the specific programs they are overseeing in Thies.

Sandwiches in hand, we moved along to see a medical clinic that was partially funded by the Mennonites in France. A major facility in Thies, this clinic is drawing close to completion of a third floor with full hospital status and capability! Okay, not everyone in the photo was excited about the part that is still under construction...

For many of us it was a first time in the desert and merited stopping to see just how hot it felt outside the bus. A long road and 3 hours later we came to our destination. Saint-Louis is about the size of South Bend, Indiana and was the capital of Senegal during the country's French colonial period (established in 1659). It lies close to the northern coastal border of Mauritania. The Saint-Louis island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and exhibits the influence of quaint colonial architecture. At our waterfront hotel we took in some much needed relaxation and intimate fellowship time. It was a great place to reflect as the sun passed gently away.

Posted at 19:05 #

Wed, 14 May 2008

Lac Rose

The Pink Lake of Senegal, Lac Rose, was along the path of our return trip from Saint-Louis. The lake is so named for its pink color especially visible during the dry season. The lake has an unusually high salt content.

With a swift dig and another push out of the sand our bus brought us close to the shoreline. Once we climbed over the salt dunes, we could see harvesters working to bring in the salt for drying. Each boat will hold one ton of salt. Generally the villagers work in communal industry and each work team moves toward the top of the buyer-market list to sell their salt in turn.

Similar to the Dead Sea, the salt content enables people to float. Neil was not content with just floating and decided to test the beneficial health qualities of the lake's mud.

Posted at 20:51 #

Thu, 15 May 2008

Getting Acquainted by Peter and Paul


by Peter

Animals aren’t hard to find in Senegal, even along the dusty streets of Dakar. On our first walk as a group down the VDN, Dakar’s biggest highway, we encountered a rather large, rather uninhibited cow running loose along the road. She didn’t seem to be planning to stop anytime soon, and made for a pretty surprising introduction to the human and animal traffic of Dakar’s streets.

Some students experience Senegal’s animal population a bit closer to their homes. I have a goat on the roof of my house who keeps me company when I read up there. Ben has a tired but friendly pit-bull that spends its time on his house’s balcony. Some families have dogs, but they’re not as popular as one might think, as dogs are one of many things that render Muslims unclean. Scrawny, dirty kittens can be found as well, struggling to maneuver among the trash and sand often present in much of the urban scene we’ve experienced so far.


by Peter

Chaotic might be the best word to describe transportation in Dakar, at least on first glance. Taxis brush your arm if you’re too close to the road, cars and busses don’t even try to stay in their lanes (if lanes are even painted on the street), and car rapides stop in the middle of the road if the driver thinks he can pick up another passenger.

These car rapides are always painted blue on bottom, yellow on top, and are usually further customized with artwork often unique to each vehicle. Usually a boy of around 15 hangs off the back of the vehicle, scouting out potential passengers. Once found, he’ll bang a coin on the scratched glass of the speeding car, signaling to the driver to stop and make the pickup.

Considering how frenetic Senegalese transportation seems to be, we have been surprised by how few accidents occur. Drivers and pedestrians alike are fully used to a more aggressive approach to getting around, and know how to avoid accidents that to us seem inevitable. Plus, riding to class on the back of a speeding car rapide is a great way to wake up completely before three hours of French or Wolof each morning!

How to Drive Senegalese-Style

by Paul

1. Don’t waste space: The number of lanes is equal to the width of the road divided by the width of a car. If the road doesn’t offer enough room, drive with two wheels on the sidewalk. If you brush a pedestrian, you’ve judged your space perfectly.

2. Sidewalks are not sacred: Cars frequent wider sidewalks, as does the occasional horsecart. On narrower sidewalks, keep an eye out for motorcycles and mopeds.

3. Cows always have the right of way.

4. Assertiveness is a virtue: If timid Senegalese drivers exist, they probably don’t get far. Most driving maneuvers are founded on others’ desire to avoid accidents.

5. Use your horn: It’s at least as important as the brake pedal. As an added bonus, it can be used by taxi drivers to solicit business.

Posted at 17:30 #

Mon, 26 May 2008

Gorée Island

Ready for some time outside of the city, we took the public bus downtown to the Port de Dakar, an impressive harbor by any standards, to catch a boat to Gorée Island. Gorée is both well- known as one of the first places settled by Europeans and infamous for the geographic role it played in the slave trade. The Maison des esclaves is one of the oldest buildings on this UNESCO site. Slaves were kept there until embarkment and it now serves as a monument to the horrors of the African slave trade.

You may recognize the famous pink staircases from many textbook photographs. Standing in such a place brings "story" fully into history and is what I love about SST. Beyond the colonized icon is a network of barred holding cells and tunnels leading to a view of the ocean through the "door of no return." Jonathan demonstrates the size of a small windowless cell under the stairs where "unruly" prisoners were placed for up to 3 months. It seemed difficult to reconcile the casual contemporary commerce of Gorée, now an island full of vendors and artisans, with the gravity of it's past. There was ample time to search the island, refresh our minds, and meet the people. An abundance of school children playing and enjoying the beach brought an ironic balance to the day at Gorée.

Posted at 19:42 #

Sat, 14 Jun 2008

Bandia Game Park

Our bus trip south of Dakar took us to the wild game park in the Bandia reserve on our way to Mbour. Safari hats in hand, students loaded up on the 4x4's for a ride through the 10 square km. of bush to view some typical African savannah wildlife, or whatever animals might surface that day. No lions, tigers, or bears, but we got really psyched when a wort hog greeted everyone at the entrance.

It was a great feeling just to be in the open, away from city air, and out in the bush with nature. Some ostriches and a hornbill opened the tour, then we came upon two groups of monkeys engaged in a territorial dispute. Who doesn't love monkeys? After an interesting interaction, our appetite was wet for more of the wild. Soon we were fortunate to see a two-week old giraffe with it's family. Still no lions, but an elephant tree.

Some sweet Roan antelope and impalas made great photos. The West African forest buffalo were plentiful and the ostriches were interesting. Still no lions.

En fin! A male white rhino came across our trail and we circled back to get a closer look. Our guides brought us in range to get out and take close-up photos of the male and the female. We continued through the park with a look at the male ostrich, which according to our guide was actually more dangerous than the rhinos. A baobab holds the remains of the griot, nomadic musicians of old, that were buried inside the trees in order to protect the villages from the bad luck of burying them in the land.

The park holds a fair amount of crocodiles and a variety of animals in hiding for our visit. No lions. Still, after a final look at the killer tortoise guarding the exit, we had a very fulfilling day!

Posted at 19:07 #

Sun, 15 Jun 2008

Baobab Sacré

On the way south you can stop at a Fast Food shop in Mbour to have a quick bite before the long trek to the Baobab Sacré. "Fast Food" usually means a Chawarma (a Lebanese inspired wrap with roasted meat) and it is definitely a local staple. After a lunch in Mbour we continued toward Joal and the famous sacred baobab tree. The baobab tree is the emblem of Senegal and woven into every part of senegalese culture, folklore, and perpetuation of life.

After an exhilarating ride down the long winding road to the biggest baobab in Senegal, on a full stomach and what we affectionately call "roller-bus," we arrived safely to our destination. The famous baobab is surrounded by vendors and souvenirs, but with a guide we were able to get around to the opening of the tree. The baobab has an amazing longevity of up to 2,000 years. This tree is hollow and has an opening where you can crawl into the cavity and then stand up. A cavity large enough that the entire group of 23, plus a couple extra, crawled inside with room to spare. Paul demonstrates the man-eating-baobab technique. Chase shows us just what one does inside a boabab and Andrew sits enthroned on the outside to compare its immense size. Melody, Ellen, Alana, Erin, and Emily still look great in the 100 degree heat.

Posted at 20:47 #

Island of Fadiouth

After a night at Pointe-Sarène we headed further south to the island at Joal-Fadiout. The historic house-museum of Leopold Sedar Senghor, the first president of Senegal, was on the way. A poet, politician, and cultural theorist, Senghor is often referred to as one of the most important intellectuals in the last century.

Museums are nice, but we were happy to reach the islands again. In stark contrast to the muslim country of Senegal, Joal- Fadiout has an island dominated by a Catholic population. A long footbridge connects you to another place of contrasts with the famous church, Église Saint François Xavier, and the Sacré Cœur towering over the entrance. Once across the bridge we saw the presence of pigs openly for the first time. The same bridge brings two contrasting worlds of religion together in a coming and going display of Senegal's ability to live in peaceful tolerance. Across a second bridge to the cemetery island we could see the ancient style grain huts where grain is stored apart from land to ensure livelihood in the event of devastating fires. After a refreshing time in the water, everyone met under some shade to have a lunch and get refueled for the next road trip further south. While eating we realized we had chosen a spot directly under the company of sleeping bats.

Posted at 21:22 #

Mon, 16 Jun 2008


An abundance of smiles were available when we came to the fishing community at Pointe-Sarène and settled into our cozy bungalow huts for the night. At the local baby-foot table, Dirk, Lydia, Jonathon, and Alex risk engaging in a game of foosball. The disclaimer, "abus dangereux pour la sante" (abuse is dangerous to your health), on the side of the table did not deter anyone.

Until the rainy season comes later in June, the beach at Pointe-Sarène is, shall we say, a bit mucky. Several braved the water with some trepidation, while others found shelling an inviting alternative. We met the local fishermen coming in with their day's catch. The entire community helps pull each boat in and all the families greet them with melodic field hollers. The dogs wait patiently at the edge of activity like gentle guardians of the village.

After a fish dinner we gathered under an open shelter to see djembé drumming and dance. Not content to just listen, the invitation to experience it firsthand (and the costuming) was just too much temptation to resist. Lessons in djembé drumming followed. By this time the surrounding fences were lined with curious young spectators and they were not disappointed when the performers ended with a Sufi fakir fire eater. Even the crabs smile in Pointe-Sarène!

Posted at 16:33 #

Mar Lodj

"It doesn't get any better than this" was a phrase à propros for Mar Lodj. After two days of grueling bus rides through the desert heat everyone was rewarded with a surprising retreat. We boarded the long senegalese style boats, made from kapok, to an area abundant with small islands and completely surrounded by oyster filled mangroves and clear water. The sandy beach at Le Bazouk du Saloum was a welcome site and the quiet removed island was a great place to let sleeping dogs lie, literally. Not everyone rested. Eventually the temptation to "jump in" was just too great. Frisbee, badminton among the mangoes, and the French inspired game of petanque kept everyone busy. For those with a more quiet idea of relaxation there were plenty of hammocks to spare. Not long after dark, our hosts served us a lovely meal of meat and rice by the light of the lanterns right out on the beach.

Into a Night of Mourning

In the dark quiet night, under the stars, we received the tragic news about a fellow Goshen College student, Deanne Binde, who was just killed in an automobile accident in Minnesota. As students rallied together in search of comfort, the beautiful healing of music was released into the air. The immense sky, overflowing with stars, seemed to join us together in mourning with our communities at home and in other SST locations around the world. Students lingered on into the difficult night ahead displaying courage and great comfort toward each other.

Posted at 19:11 #

Tue, 17 Jun 2008


The dawn brought a peaceful day of rest at Mar Lodj on Sunday, May 25. When evening came we were invited to a neighboring village for Lutte sénégalaise, a traditional folk wrestling. In the complete dark of night, we crossed the island in kind of a Senegalese sleigh ride through dusty fields and forest. Thankfully, our horses knew the way in the dark, as there are no street lamps or lights to follow. We came upon an electrically charged atmosphere of musical chanting, drums, and hundreds of villagers. It is truly a community event. Wrestlers work hard to build up their athletic strength and ability, but not uncommonly turn in the end to the "magic tonics" of a marabou insuring their chances of victory. Lutte is no respecter of persons and even prominent visitors would be encouraged to participate. Transcending all cultural barriers, our own GC team was suited up (or down in this case) for a match with the locals.

Be sure to watch the video of our own star wrestler, Chase, from "team GC," for a better look into the atmosphere.

Posted at 20:20 #

Wed, 18 Jun 2008


For an artistic change of scenery, we all tried our hand at the art of batik, a process of hand-painted wax-resist dying on textile. In Senegal batik can be seen in abundance on fabrics, clothing, and housewares. We worked with a master batik artist in Medina, M. Thier, that had his own retail shop and his former apprentice, M. Magueye Gueye, now an accomplished batik artist in his own right.

Students worked out their own designs, in pencil first, and then painted the non-dye areas with wax melted over small charcoal stoves. When ready, the cloth is placed into the first color of dye and the process repeated for each subsequent color used. Our simple designs with only two colors of dye took an entire day to complete, evidence of the amount of time necessary for intricate designs with multiple colors.

Once the fabric is dyed it has to hang for drying before the next process. Between coats, the students found time to chat, play cards, and interact with the curious "little helpers" that gathered.

Posted at 07:55 #


by Benjamin

Across West Africa, Dakar is known for its night- life--or, more accurately, early morning life. After arriving in the city, the students discovered that most of the dance clubs only start swinging after midnight (on the early side) and peak around three or four in the morning. Those of us living with young-adults know how much most Senegalese look forward to Samedi Soir (Saturday Night), when they can go dancing with their friends or their confused American host siblings. Samedi Soir is such an important part of the social life here that one street vender, annoyed at my refusals, exclaimed that without the money he couldn't take his girlfriend out dancing--as if that would convince me to buy a soccer jersey.

In addition to Samedi Soir, many SSTers celebrated Jeudi (Thursday) Soir. We had no class on Fridays, and, each Thursday, a jazz club spiced things up with an evening of live Reggae. The bands played Bob Marley hits interspersed with songs in French and Wolof.

Posted at 18:46 #

Thu, 19 Jun 2008


We had been waiting for weeks to get a look inside the Grande Mosquée de Dakar and finally it was arranged just in time before service departure. Preparations were made for our visit and, to show proper sensitivity to religious protocol, it was ensured that there would be nobody around during our visit and tour (except vendors, of course).

Our guide brought us through the grand arched halls and symmetric decorations to the door of an inner prayer room where we removed our shoes and entered in very small groups. Once inside, the incredible attention to geometric detail was almost overwhelming. Each repeating motif was done in deep relief, pressed into the plaster and trim work. The work was seamless and mathematically exacting without breaking into any partial shapes.

What can we say? In a setting like this, everyone did their utmost to assimilate the surroundings. A tour of the complex, a quick Arabic lesson, and we were ready for our close-ups. Perhaps a little too close for some, so we posed for a broader group shot!

Posted at 20:42 #

Mon, 7 Jul 2008


Chez Goshen Our Last Day in Dakar

I believe some of the best moments in life are still locked up in the unknown of what's next. Our last night in Dakar was a chance to anticipate and plan for some of those moments. We enjoyed a spaghetti meal together and shared some thoughts. We began the process of good-byes to Chez Goshen and to look toward the unknown of service.

Chez Goshen is many things. It is Chez SST and Chez French Class by day, Chez Don and Chez Kevin by night. It is a place to get band-aids and sneak extra time on the internet. It is full of laughter and discussion during break times and filled with singing before each weekly meal. Chez Goshen serves American sloppy joe and potato salad that has no resemblance in taste. Occasionally it is a place for the sick to rest, but more often it is a drinking station and bathroom stop between long walks in the desert heat. It is group story time with a good book. It is refuge. It is card games. It is fun.

And now it is silent.

A full, but successful Study-Term behind us and everyone was ready to bust out into the country's interior and transition to a Service-Term. The mango tree at Chez Goshen seemed like the best place to snatch a group shot before service departures the next morning. Students are located from north to south in Sénégal.

Posted at 19:25 #

Tue, 8 Jul 2008


Grant and Dara

Our first service visit was about an hour and a half drive outside of Dakar into a completely remote village setting. Gorom is the location of a YWAM project that involves construction of a new medical dispensary, a micro-agriculture operation, and perpetual relationship building with the local villages. Service in Gorom means helping with the construction, gardening, feeding chickens, and cooking meals.

Set next to a cashew grove, Dara and Grant are learning to eat the cashew's apple- like fruit, as well as the raw nuts. Their love of the culture and countryside is impossible to miss and evident in the photos we took. There is plenty of time for reflection in the evenings. Grant says that SST is filled with "...moments that push you beyond what you know into what you must figure out."

Posted at 20:25 #


Alana and Lydia

The former colonial town of Richard-Toll lies at the border of Mauritania on the south bank of the Sénégal river and is our farthest point north. However, driving north toward our destination the landscape becomes increasingly barren and one begins to wonder whether there will again be water. The stark contrast of green lush fields in the north soon appears and the river running through it become a welcome site. We were very happy to find Lydia and Alana in good spirits and they welcomed us with a traditional meal of Thiebu Dien (rice and fish).

When they are not "reclining" in their room there is plenty to do at the traditional dairy where they slip into their appropriate work clothes, process, package, and refrigerate the milk product. Besides the two- room traditional dairy, Alana and Lydia will also be working at a slightly more automated dairy farm. Both dairies, administered by AESCAW, are owned and operated by Senegalese women.

Posted at 07:33 #


Neil and Thomas

More luscious green accompanied us along the route to Saint-Louis where we met Thomas and Neil working in the rice fields. The green fields can be deceiving, because the heat was still in the 90's (F) during our brief stay. While rice is primarily grown in the south of the country the northern area of Saint-Louis has been growing rice since before the first millennium CE. On Fridays, the men go to a small garden complex close to town and try their farming skills on eggplants, peppers, onions, mint, and strawberries.

Ellen and Melody

En route to the city center, where our students live, we had a typical cow-crossing delay. The four students are all living in separate neighborhoods of Saint-Louis, but they look forward to meeting each other on Friday evenings. We met Ellen and Melody the next morning at their service location, Kaddug Yalla, a clinic and school. Ellen is working in the clinic assisting with local patients and keeping her nursing skills sharp. Melody is working with the school for girls in the same building, where they teach a variety of practical skills. Melody has the added perk of caring for her host baby sister.

Posted at 13:27 #

Djilor / Diofior

Alex and Dirk

We left the colonial northern setting and traveled south on a return trip to the beautiful region of Fatick to find Dirk and Alex in the remote village of Djilor, where former president and poet Senghor grew up. The prestige of this setting is no indication of its surroundings, however, and it remains one of the more isolated village locations we have. Dirk and Alex are keeping up on their reading, spending a lot of time walking, and even working occasionally on their lutting (wrestling) skills with the locals.

For service, the men are helping with whatever the local farmers and fisherman need. Their schedule is completely driven by season and weather. The morning we left they were hoping to begin plowing and planting (by horse) in the fields. They often walk an hour and a half for a visit to the "nearby" village of Diofior where Arienne, Allison, and Emily D began their Service-Term.

Allison, Arienne, and Emily D

In Diofior the ladies are packed and ready to make a service move. After an assessment of their service location and a conversation with their hosts, we decided to move them to work on a list of projects already underway in the city of Kaolack, located east about two hours by car. Before the journey, we awakened to a beautiful sunrise on the water, curious birds, and ladies pounding millet into flour.

Posted at 15:14 #


[] --

Chase, Emily S, and Peter

"Kaolack is hot!" This was the response from every person that we told our destination to. If the Senegalese think it is hot in Kaolack, it must be, right? Let's just confirm that everyone there is "glowing." But an abundance of smiles are everywhere in Kaolack. Our students are actively engaged in the community, their families, and "10,000 Girls," the NGO where they are working. In between teaching classes at the all-girls school, students are designing and developing a "book mobile" for the surrounding community, planning a camp/seminar for the girls there, and a variety of other tasks appointed to them by their host, Viola Vaughn, lovingly know to all of Kaolack as Mamm (grandma in Wolof). A native of Detroit, Mamm has spearheaded this moving organization in her retirement. Be sure to check out the CNN video link above.

Posted at 16:05 #

Fri, 18 Jul 2008


Andrew and Ben

Ziguinchor is our most southern location and a new one for Sénégal SST. With a population of about 230,000, Ziguinchor was the first European settlement in the area. It was founded by the Portuguese and one can still hear Portuguese creole spoken in the region. After a long wait in Dakar, Ben and Andrew were anxious to get to their new home and begin service. The trip there was longer than most and they traveled overnight by ship.

Ben was greeted by 15 siblings and lives in the quartier of Lindiaye on the edge of Ziguinchor. Ben is working for AJAC Local, an NGO that nurtures and equips micro-enterprise in the region.

Andrew is living in a much smaller family of three. He is working for Afrique Enjeux, another NGO based in Ziguinchor. Afique Enjeux is a peacekeeping organization that encourages laying arms aside and refocusing on economic and agricultural issues in the region.

Posted at 15:09 #


Thiès is a great place outside of Dakar and home of the Mission Inter Senegal (MIS) office. MIS is coordinating and assisting a myriad of programs throughout Senegal that include women's ministry, food and medical aid, micro-financing, children's programs, and water well projects. Jon and Paul (and kitty) are giving a hand in the offices most days. Erin is busy nearby taking and testing blood in the lab of a new clinic MIS has been building in Thiès. The entire SST group had visited the same clinic earlier in May. SST Director, Thomas Meyers, was in Senegal and traveled to Thiès for the visit. The students were very happy to see him... or was it the mail he was carrying?

Annelise Goldschmidt, seated at her desk, is a longtime friend of SST and Goshen College. We would like to thank her for the measureless work she does behind the scenes at MIS and the SST program.

Posted at 15:10 #


Last, but certainly not least, are the two service positions in Dakar. Leslee and Breanna remained in the nation's capitol city for Service-Term. Leslee is working at la pouponnière (the baby doll house), where orphaned babies are taken care of. Most of the babies are under 6 months old. During our visit they were caring for 48 infants. Breanna is working with the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady in Africa, the oldest convent in Senegal. Celebrating 150 years, it was founded in 1848. With a unique view inside life not immediately visible here, both Leslee and Breanna are having exceptional and unique experiences during service by staying in Dakar.

Posted at 15:33 #

Behind the Cameras

Photographers spent a lot of time looking through their lenses in order to give people a glimpse into our experiences. It takes a lot of eyes looking from different angles to even get close to the "real picture" of an experience like SST. We were very privileged to have such a team of good eyes looking through cameras on our behalf. We want to thank them for their visual contribution, documenting our time here together.

Posted at 17:01 #

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Kevin Koch
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