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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

“How was Africa?”

Greetings to everyone following along on our journey,

In these final days of the course, we shift our outlook from new experiences and learning to an integration of what we have learned as we all transition back home. While we start that process here, it can take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to understand how it was. And yet, the most common question for us when we return home is “how was the trip?” It can feel overwhelming to try to answer that big question in a few words, so we started practicing that here today. The students each took their first attempt to answer the question “How was the trip?” in one word, one sentence, and one paragraph, and some of these answers are included below to give everyone following along a taste of our first reflections on the past three months.

-The I-team and the students

“How was Africa?”

Single word:

Life-changing

Colorful

Enlightening

Buzzing

Beautiful

Incredible

Beautiful

Eye-opening

Tangana

One sentence:

Well, I meant to tell you about terranga, the beautiful hospitality shown by almost everybody that you meet here in Senegal, but instead I told you about tangana, the word for hot in Wolof and the equivalent of a breakfast diner in Senegal.

Everyone was so hospitable, the food was delicious, and I really enjoyed my time there.

I found a second home in Senegal.

The greeting with everyone and the conversation while making atayya.

From the blissful beaches to the busy markets, it was full of peace.

The woman here are inspiring.

I found myself immersed in ways of life I had never before pondered or dreamt I would fall in love with.

I discovered new ways to care for other people and the space we occupy together.

One Paragraph:

Well, I meant to tell you about terranga, the beautiful hospitality shown by almost everybody that you meet here in Senegal, but instead I told you about tangana, the word for hot in Wolof and the equivalent of a breakfast diner in Senegal. One of the most beautiful ways that Senegal has exhibited its hospitality in the three months I lived there was through the idea of sharing. Everybody from my homestay brother to the man eating next to me to the man I passed on the street tried to share what they had with me. My brother would go to the boutique, buy one candy, and then try to give it to me. Strangers in roadside eating establishments would call me over to share their plate of food with me. A man offered me his boubou off of his back. -Harry

The country of Senegal buzzed with color, and life. Each day felt like a celebration that we had woken up, were here together, Alhamdulillah. Whenever I came home from the program house in Temento Samba, my family and I would joyfully chorus to one another: “Mi arti!” “A arti!” There was a joy in being together, even without the artifice of language, that I had never experienced before. -Ibby

Senegal was enchanting. It was colorful and smelly and loud and magical. It has a flavor that changes every time I taste it. It has a rainbow with a dozen colors instead of six, and one of them smells like fish and another is sweet and hot and spicy. Five of them line the doorway to indoor breakfast stands – tanganas – and another is blue-green and salty. One bleats like a goat and two shimmer like fish scales and bird feathers; the last is red and black and blue and beats with the rhythm of my heart. -L

My trip in Senegal was something I don’t have the word for it yet but when I do ill let you know. The people here are wonderful and so nice and funny. The sounds in the distance are so peaceful you get to hear birds, goats, sheep, babies and many more wonderful things. One thing I love about Senegal are the women the strong, amazing, caring and respectful women. Senegalese woman inspired me so much with all they do and if you were to go to Senegal you would see so many colorful things its just amazing and if we had more time, I would tell you even more wonderful information. – Khi’Aura

I’m so in love in Senegal it has opened so many new doors and love for more new dishes and I’m so in love with atayya and the foam making and the conversations. Also being able to break fast with a new family and being able to pray behind them was such an amazing feeling. Walking back from class and greeting everyone while passing and being invited in to have a cup of atayya. -Sahra