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04/02/2014

SPRING 2014, ISSUE 2

 

 

 

Teranga Newsletter from CIEE Study Center, Dakar Senegal

Internships and Community Engagement

As usual, for-credit internships and not-for-credit community service opportunities play a significant part in the CIEE Dakar student experience. In terms of for-credit internships, 16 students in the Development Studies program and 7 students in the Language and Culture program have been placed in 16 different organizations in Dakar. The placements are in Government agencies such as “Stratégie de Croissance Accélérée” and in non-governmental organizations such as RADDHO and Siggil Jiggen as well as in public institutions such as the Albert Royer children’s hospital.

Continue reading "SPRING 2014, ISSUE 2" »

02/03/2014

SPRING 2014, ISSUE 1

Teranga Newsletter from Dakar, Senegal

SPRING 2014 has started

The CIEE Dakar SP14 students arrived on January 19, 2014 and were welcomed by staff members. They then participated in a comprehensive orientation program that aimed to prepare them for the upcoming semester. Throughout the week, they learned about cultural customs, proper dining etiquette, and Senegalese values as well as many logistics pertaining to living in Dakar.

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal
 

The students also had the opportunity to showcase their acting abilities when role-playing security incidents that happened to previous CIEE students.  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

On day one there was a welcome session, which included introductions as well as an overview of the academic program. After an appetizing lunch of a Senegalese dish, the orientation continued with an informative and interactive medical session. After that, a French placement exam was carried out in order to adequately assess students’ levels.

  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

On the second day of orientation, the CIEE students attended a cross cultural orientation led by the NGO ACI (Africa Consultants International). This day-long session addressed many issues that students should be aware of when living with Senegalese host families. They discussed Senegal as a whole at first, and then sang a song called “Tank, loko, nopp, bakan, baat, bet,and gemin” (Wolof: Legs, hands, ears, nose, throat, eyes and lips). The students were then split into groups to talk about values, beliefs, and assumptions.

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal
Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

They also learned how to eat around the bowl with their hands, which is a common way of eating in Senegal. There are many rules for eating, such as only eating with one’s right hand and only eating within your allotted pie piece. Then students put their learning into use when eating their first meal around the bowl. After lunch, they finished their presentations and walked back to the CIEE study center.

  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

That evening, CIEE staff members held sessions on transportation and shopping.  According to many students, these sessions were very informative.

  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

Survival Wolof lessions began the next day. These classes provided students with certain expressions that were useful during their first days with their families. On Wednesday afternoon, the students joined their host families.

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

 On Thursday the students attended a presentation on internship and community service and then had survival Wolof again before the gender and diversity session. CIEE shares a building with a Senegalese social science university. The partnership goes beyond sharing a physical space; CIEE students partner with local students in order to practice their language skills and to exchange lessons about culture.

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

On Friday, CIEE staff members led a homestay debriefing to address  students’ questions and concerns. The final orientation session involved asking students to go out on the street and ask questions about cultural objects that they were given. The students returned after about an hour to share information they gathered with the group. The activity was an enjoyable and interactive way to wrap up the week’s activities. On Saturday, the students had a downtown excursion that gave them the opportunity to visit the city and have lunch on their own.

 

  Spring 2014 - CIEE Senegal

  Students in Goree island

 

11/27/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE VI

CIEE Teranga Newsletter

Dakar, Senegal

Visiting Saint Louis Region in the Northwest of Senegal

Last weekend CIEE group took a break from classes in Dakar. The group traveled to Northern Senegal to explore another aspect of the country and its culture. We left Dakar in the morning and traveled east to Thies, where we stopped for lunch. Thies, the second Region of the country, is also known as the capital of the railways. After the delicious lunch we headed to the Lompoul Desert, the Djoudj National Park and Saint Louis fo Senegal.

Visiting Saint Louis Region in the Northwest of Senegal Lompoul Desert Djoudj National Bird Park Faidherbe Bridge is a road bridge over the Sénégal River which links the island of the city of Saint-Louis in Senegal to the African mainland. The metal bridge is 507.35 metres long and 10.5 metres wide, weighing 1,500 tonnes
Lompoul desert

After a great lunch in Thies, the group headed to the Lompoul desert. After everyone settled down in their assigned tents, students the rest of the afternoon students were free to explore the around the desert and had the option of taking a short fifteen-minute camel ride. At sunset everyone gathered in the meal tent and experienced a caravan trail meal. After dinner, a tam-tam party was offered to our group by our host. For hours into the night the tam-tam music provided a wonderful time for dancing and enjoying each other’s company. Everyone had a wonderful time.

Lompoul Desert Lompoul Desert Lompoul DesertLompoul

The Lompoul desert (sometimes spelled Lumpoul; in Frenchdésert de Lompoul) is a small desert (about 18 km2) located 145 km south of Saint-Louis, Senegal. The landscape is formed by deep brown and orange sand dunes; this type of dune is more akin to those of the Sahara and Mauritania desert than those of the surrounding area of Senegal (the Grande-Côte), which gives students a more varied experience of Senegal. The desert is named after the closest settlement, the village of Lompoul.

Lomoul Desert Lompoul DesertDjoudj National Bird Park

After our wonderful afternoon and evening in the desert, the next morning we got up very early to have breakfast and head out to Djoudj National Bird Park.  This bird sanctuary is famous as the favorite site of European birds that travel south to this specific location in Senegal each year to escape the cold northern winters. We arrived at Djoudj around lunch time. The students were placed in two “pirogues” (a large wooden canoe) to travel along the river to spot and observe the various types of migratory birds.

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Mout

Djoudj

The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (FrenchParc national des oiseaux du Djoudj) lies on the southeast bank of the River Senegal, in northern Biffeche, northeast of the city of Saint Louis.

Canard

The sanctuary provides a range of wetland habitats perfect for the needs of migrating birds, many of which have just crossed the Sahara Desert. The winter home for almost 400 species of birds, the most abundant and visible are the pelicans and the flamingos.

Aquatic Warbler

Less conspicuous are the Aquatic Warblers; for this particular species of bird, the park is the single most important wintering site yet discovered.

Djouddd

In addition to birds, a wide range of wildlife like wild boars, crocodiles and monkeys among others also inhabit the park. Due to the parks importance to birds and wildlife alike, it has been designated a World Heritage Site.

Djod

Visiting Saint Louis

After a delicious lunch at the Djoudj Hotel (hotel de Djoudj) the group set out for the city of Saint Louis- first established in 1659 as a French trading post.  We arrived at our hotel, Rogniat Nord. First we distributed room keys so that students could settle in and place their bags. After they were settled, together we all headed to the restaurant for a delicious dinner. Students choose from a variety of authentic local and international cuisine that could accommodate everyone’s tastes including fish, lamb, shrimp, pasta and vegetarian options. After dinner, students decided to explore the island in small groups. Some students chose to observe the local small scale cafe scene to listen to varied Jazz acts, while others preferred attending a live music concert at a larger hotel bar. Still other students chose to simply walk around the city to observe the night life and chat with locals and street vendors.

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Saint Louis Bridge

Since Saint Louis lies on the border of Senegal and Mauritania (the Senegal River serving as the international boarder) students were eager to observe Senegal’s neighbor to the North.  The next morning, students were given the chance to make a quick visit to the border so that they could “see” Mauritania. After this short excursion, most students used the early morning to complete some shopping in the neat boutiques and artist shops. The rest of the students used this time to explore a little more of the city and in particular its historical architecture- since many of the colonial buildings from when Saint Louis was the French capital of French West Africa still stand. After these early morning activities the group gathered for lunch and after another wonderful meal we boarded the buses for the return trip back to Dakar.

Saint Pont

Saint Louis

Founded as a French colonial settlement in the 17th century, Saint Louis was urbanized in the mid-19th century. It was the capital of Senegal from 1872 to 1957 and played an important cultural and economic role in the whole of West Africa. The location of the town on an island at the mouth of the Senegal River, the system of quays, and the colonial architecture give Saint-Louis a distinctive appearance and unique identity in Senegal.

SLoi

Saint

Saint-Louis was established in 1659 by French traders on an uninhabited island called Ndar. It was baptized Saint-Louis-du-Fort in homage to the French king Louis XIV. It was the first permanent French settlement in Senegal. The fortified trading post allowed the French to conduct business with African traders who traveled from the interior to the coast along the Senegal River. Slaves, hides, beeswax, ambergris and, later, gum arabic were the main items of trade. In 1758, during the Seven Years War, British forces captured Senegal. The British controlled the port for 21 years until February of 1779, when French forces recaptured Saint-Louis. In the late 18th century, Saint-Louis became the leading urban center in sub-Saharan. During that time, the island was home to approximately 5,000 inhabitants, although this number does not count the slaves held and waiting to be exported to the Americas through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  Today, trade continues to be a critical element of Saint-Louis’ economy, but tourism constitutes this city’s most important economic contribution. For this reason, the city preserves and celebrates its Atlantic World heritage, like many other cities throughout the world with similar “Creole Atlantic” roots including Bahia in Brazil, Havana in Cuba and New Orleans in the United States.

SALAIAN

 

11/06/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE V

CIEE Teranga Newsletter

Dakar, Senegal

11/2/2013

Rural Visits

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.

Rural Visits

Rural Visits

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.

Rural Visits
Rural Visits
Rural Visits

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.

Rural Visits
Rural Visits
Rural Visits

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.

  Rural Visits
Rural Visits
Rural Visits

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.

Here what some of the students said:

Rural Visits

“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!”

Rural Visits
“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”

Kadiatou

“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.”

Rural Visits

 

“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.”

Rural Visits
Rural Visits

“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.”

Rural Visits
Rural Visits

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.

10/21/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE IV

CIEE Teranga Newsletter

Dakar, Senegal

The International Day of the Girl: "Girls Rising" Screening

All over the world, and Senegal is not an exception, girls are marginalized and denied the basic rights to freedom and the opportunity to get an education. To celebrate the United NationsInternational Day of the Girl celebrated on October 11, CIEE Senegal, like other centers around the world, organized a screening session of the film “Girl Rising”. The film, a recently released, high-budget documentary that chronicles the stories of a few disadvantaged girls from all over the world, is supported by a program of the same name through the organization 10x10.

International Day of the Girl

In Dakar, the event was a major success, thanks to the efforts that staff put in to coordinate the screening and hold a panel discussion. Many partners joined us to celebrate our common commitment to social change through education. Among them were Global Research and Advocacy GroupImagineNation Africa, Centre for the Promotion of Women's Leadership (CIPFEM), Queen Hangbe Foundation (Fondation Reine Hangbe), Primary Schools Mass Massaer Niane and Mbaye Diop, Local Development Committee of Mermoz (Comite de Developpement Local de Mermoz), and the African Institute of Management (IAM), which hosted the event.

International Day of the Girl
International Day of the Girl

Words from student after the screening:

"This time I was watching the documentary with a bunch of Senegalese men, women, and children, children who would identify with and be inspired by the girls in the film. While the girls present for the film aren’t the most underprivileged, since most spoke French and were in school somewhere, they still have challenges to face growing up in a developing, traditional country."

International Day of the Girl

"It was a very interesting documentary resource. I enjoyed it because it utilized storytelling and advocacy, I think it was interesting how all the girls were from different countries and they were able to work together to tell a story about their reflective lives, how it showed girls around the world need education or how they were deprived of education. I thought it was very educational and I personally think it was a great form of advocacy to increase education for girls."

International Day of the Girl

¨I was glad that there is something we were exposed to. I am very interested in education system here, especially girls’ education, the opportunity that girls have to go to school. I am volunteering with CPFEM, the organization that encourages girls to go to school and inspires them to stay in school. That got me thinking about that a lot, how it applies to that organization.¨

International Day of the Girl
Another student compared her life as a privilege to these girls around the world:

¨The movie spoke about 8 to 10 girls, different lives, all from different parts of the world: their struggle going to school, their challenges, their inspiration, their dedication, and I thought it was very powerful. It opens my eyes about problems that I am not aware of around the world like education, particularly girls’ education. It makes me kind of question my privilege and why I was born where I was, why things happen the way it does. It really makes me want to change things the way they are and do everything I can to help the girls that don’t have the opportunity to have ipad because everything has been just easy for me and I had never questioned it.¨

International Day of the Girl
The same student stated this:

¨Something that was positive is there are so many girls despite all the horrible things in their lives that they have the courage and passion to go to school and to overcome all these difficulties. The movie talked about the movement of these girls that are coming together and that all the movie is about “girls rising”; they’re rising just to defeat all these problems in their lives, they are going to stand up for themselves and continue rising and do whatever it takes to get the education they deserve. I think it is going to make a huge difference in our world, the progress that we can make.¨

International Day of the Girl
International Day of the Girl

After screening Girl Rising, we felt that it’s important to follow up with the issues the film raises. This is an endeavor that we’ve already started by creating CIPFEM, an organization through which CIEE students help tutor girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. But there is more space to work in conjunction with local partners and address development not just as rhetoric but as a way to make concrete and impactful interventions in the community. As a result of watching this film, we will look at more ways to make access to education a reality for more girls in Senegal.

International Day of the Girl
International Day of the Girl

 

 

10/09/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE III

CIEE Teranga Newsletter

Dakar, Senegal

The Academic Program
The academic program includes courses with experienced teachers who accompany students on field trips to enable students to have the first-hand on experience.

Academic Program Program AcademicCIEE students can choose from a wide variety of courses offered in both French and English. For instance during the public health class, students visited a nearby Senegalese health clinic. To better monitor the CIEE faculty and to better respond to students’ needs, observation visits in the classrooms are scheduled throughout the semester by the Academic Program Coordinator.

Academic ProgramAcademic Program

The visits are divided into three phases:

- The first phase (two visits per teacher) from the 26th of August to September 20th (for all faculty)
- A second phase (1 visit per teacher) from 30th of September to October 30th (for all the faculty from the Language and Culture program) and from September 30th to October 18th (for all the faculty from the Development Studies program)
- A third phase (1 visit per teacher) from 4th of November to December 9th (for all faculty)




10/03/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE II

CIEE TERANGA NEWSLETTER

 Dakar, Senegal Drapeau du Senegal

La Grande Muraille Verte

(The Great Green Wall)

October, 2013

Great Green Wall

The second weekend of September, CIEE students travelled northeast of Dakar to the Great Green Wall (http://www.grandemurailleverte.org/) to plant trees. The ride was amazing. On the way to the location where we would be planting trees, the landscape and trees fed us while birds chirped and the sun set. After a day’s travel we arrived in the tiny village of Widou and were shown to our sleeping places, which were a mix of rooms, cots in a hallway, and military like tents.

Great Green Wall Great Green WallThe next morning was an early day, but not too bad. We had breakfast and left the site around 9 am in order to get to the fields. We took the trucks again, but it was a shorter drive with no bugs. The massive continent-wide project — to cover 4,000 miles of arid land with trees — is quite the endeavor. Another big part of the project is to engage and support local populations, so we teamed up with some villagers to plant trees. Eventually, these forests can be used for their benefit as well for food or herding. The Great Green Wall also sponsors community gardens in the areas it plants.  The savannah where we planted had loose soil, flat land, and the villagers had already cleared the lines before we arrived. 

Great Green Wall Great Green Wall Great Green Wall Great Green Wall Great Green Wall







 


09/27/2013

FALL 2013, ISSUE I

CIEE TERANGA NEWSLETTER 

Dakar, Senegal

September 27, 2013

TOUBAB DIALAW

Toubab Dialaw

After three weeks in Dakar, students took a weekend trip to Toubab Dialaw, a seaside resort that is located about 50 km (or 31 miles) southeast of Dakar.

The quiet village of Toubab Dialaw, with its beautiful beaches and authentic village life, is an ideal place for students to recharge after a three-week transition into Senegalese life. They were all very excited to have another taste of Senegalese culture while testing their artistic skills through coaching from professional dancers, drummers, and batik specialists. The Sobo Bade hotel, where students stayed, is owned by an all-around artist—painter, sculptor, novelist, poet, architect, etc—from Haiti, who worked alongside former President Leopold Sédar Senghor after having been forced to flee his country as a political activist. The hotel is a true paradise, a haven of peace, which exudes the humanistic spirit of its owner while also hosting an artists’colony.

At Sobo Badè students took classes in batik, African dance, or drumming.

Batik

Batik
Batik
Batik

Batik: a dyeing technique that is traditionally made by using wax. Students gave free rein to their imagination, and the end result was an amazing unfolding of their hidden artistic talents; some sketches featured beautiful baobabs that students captured during the trip down to the coast while others preferred to make images that celebrate family, or other loved ones.

Batik
Batik
Batik
Drumming

Drumming
Drumming

Drumming: Another group of students took a drumming class. They started with the basics of using their hands to hit the drum before scaling up to more complicated rhythms. After rehearsing for an hour, they became pretty independent: something to be quite proud of as it was both fun and instructive!  

Drumming

Dance

Dance
Dance

Dance: The group that opted for dance took their class on the beach. To the natural music provided by the ocean waves that cast their rhythmic melody just a few feet away from the performers, the musicians added an exquisite mix of drums, kora, and balafon (xylophone) to deliver a unique composition. Minutes of rehearsal were enough for students to catch the sprightly steps of their dance teacher. Later in the evening students delivered a spotless copy of what they learned earlier in front of a larger group during an audience participation performance.

Dance

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