CIEE Teranga Newsletter
Last week, students were off for
their rural visit. They were placed all around the country. Some went to
villages where they were hosted by a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) and others
stayed with families that have hosted American students before, but without
mediation from of a PCV or other Americans.
This rural tour allowed students to see Senegal from different perspectives and
lenses; something they could probably not necessarily have in the cosmopolitan
city of Dakar.
During this week students had a unique opportunity to compare life in the city
to that of rural villages in Senegal, get acquainted with other aspects of
Senegalese culture, and practice numbers of local languages.
Students directly engaged with their
respective village communities and were involved in several development
projects that included vegetable farming, public health work, and support
in other programs already established by Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV), NGOs,
the local government, or village hosts.
Many students cited this experience
as one that was unforgettable as they recounted the chance they had to observe
daily life in the village, and engage in activities such as milking cows,
walking around and breathing fresh air in vast natural spaces, or simply
participating in extended greeting rituals.
what some of the students said:
“I was in Missera Peuhl with
Michelle and PCV Miles. It’s a tiny Pulaar village four hours by bush taxi.
There was a lot of agriculture — we ate bowls of millet (lechery) at every
meal, and there was a ton of corn (masara, newel!). I tried to learn as much
pulaar as I could there, and everyone was really excited to help teach me. None
of Miles' projects had started yet, but there was a doctor who visited to
vaccinate the newborn babies one morning and a representative from Papem, an
organization helping to build latrines. Overall, it was a great trip. I would
love to keep learning pulaar and to visit again!”
“I was in Ndayane, (petite cote) a
rural village in Senegal for a week and I literally cried when I was leaving
the wonderful CISS family, they treated me like I was part of the family, I
enjoyed their company every single minute they spent with me. They took me to
the sea to fish & shared their know-ledge with me. To TOP their generosity,
they even gave me the honor of presenting a flag to the winner of traditional
Senegalese wrestling... It’s amazing how people are different from every
setting I have visited and lived before... on that note: I LoVE EVERY
EXPERIENCE I HAVE Gained so far !! #Senegal #homeland #Ciss Family #fishing
#ndayane #studyabroad2013 #100%senegalese”
“I went to the Tambacounda region,
to a village called Dawadi. It consists of Wolof, Sereer, Mandinko, and
Pulaar people, and I stayed with a Mandinko family. My favorite part of
the trip was getting to know the family that I was staying with.
Communication was very difficult as I didn't know Mandinko and only knew a
little Wolof. Nonetheless I connected with these people in a way that I
will never forget. I spent a lot of time with my family, trying to learn as
much Mandinko as possible and trying to form relationships with
them. They were so open to talking to me, patient with me,
generous, and humorous! I learned that joking and dancing are universal
languages, and I tried communicating using both of those mediums. Overall, my
rural visit was one of the best experiences of my life. I took so much away
from the visit and am so thankful for the opportunity.”
“On my rural visit stay, I went to
Dakatelli in the Kedougou region. It took 12 hours on a sept-place to get to
Kedougou from Dakar, and from there, it took another 2-hour sept-place ride to
a road town. From the Road Town, it took a 3-hour, 15-km walk to Dakatelli.
I went with Heather. In the village, we milked cows, ate really
good food (cous-cous, soow (milk), peanuts, attaya (tea), etc.), met a lot of
really nice people, visited surrounding villages, and learned a little Pulaar.
We stayed with a Health PCV named Katie. Over the course of the whole
week, we walked a total of around 70km! It was a great trip, and I learned a
lot from our stay.”
“I went to Toukar in the region of
Fatick. I stayed in Maimounda Diop's home, the wife of Aldouma Diallo the teacher
of Public Health. It is a Serere village. I worked at the health post with the
nurse Ngor Ngom. The first day I observed how consultations and treatment of
diseases were going. The next day, I helped the nurses. I wrote prescriptions
during consultations. When we were doing pinches, I assisted in cleaning
wounds. One day, I was attending a study with a research team. The aim was to
determine the prevalence of malaria in Toukar. I worked several hours each day,
but I also drank Attaya (Senegalese tea) and discussed with my family. I
learned a lot about Medicine and it was interesting to treat patients myself. I
would never have the opportunity to do that in the United States.”
The rural visits provided an
opportunity for students to have productive interactions with people in
villages they visited. Independently of the work they were asked to submit as
part of the courses they take in Dakar, many students intend to use the wealth
of experience collected from these rural visits as a source for ongoing
research projects they are conducting for their home schools.