Hello Family and Friends of the Africa Semester Students,
After some conversations with students about the different itinerary options, our instructors have worked to slightly re-arrange the itinerary for the second half of the semester. The updated itinerary is included below. While the places are the same, some of the activities have changed based on student interest and other logistics. If there are any further updates, we will make sure to post those here to the Yak Board!
Itinerary – Africa Semester
Week 2 in Senegal/Week 6 Program: 10/23/17-10/31/17
In the town of Thies, we engage in a week-long semi-urban homestay which is an opportunity to connect with our first Senegalese family, embracing a new cuisine, a new language, and a new pace of life. While in Thies, we begin to learn about Senegalese history and politics, gender roles, educational systems, and more from local guest speakers, helping us develop the context and framework through which to understand the rest of our experiences across the country. In Thies, we also do some individual research to adjust and/or continue our Independent Study Project.
Week 3 in Senegal/Week 7 Program: 11/1/17-11/5/17
After saying goodbye to our host families, we travel a short distance east to the villages of Ndem and Mbacke Kadior. These are communities that are organized around service, agriculture, and traditional arts and crafts. In Ndem and Mbacke Kadior, we learn about Senegal’s rural exodus, and support the community in their efforts to curb the exodus of youth from agricultural to urban areas. In Ndem, we will participate in artisanal workshops and learn more about agricultural and economic development in the region. While in Mbacke Kadior, we participate in sustainable agriculture and construction projects, and learn about their innovative educational model. We also begin to develop connections, ask questions, and understand Senegal’s deep connection to the land as we prepare to journey south.
Week 4-5 in Senegal/Week 8-9 Program: 11/6/17-11/20/17
Traveling south from Thies, we enter the flat green plains of Kolda, home to vibrant Pulaar communities of rice, peanut, and dairy farmers. After a day in Kolda preparing for our rural homestay. We then venture out to settle into a 12-day homestay in the rural village of Temanto Samba. The pace of life slows down as we live alongside our host families in a small farming village. We learn about a way of life that is in touch with the land as we stay in huts built from natural materials, help our families harvest and process their own food, and spend the evenings practicing our Pulaar language skills with our new friends. Village life brings with it the opportunities to experience village markets, visit a local fortuneteller, observe activities such as fishing and beekeeping, bake local bread, and learn more about the challenges of rural development. As we learn about life without electricity or running water, we learn how people can prosper with non-monetary wealth and resources. As we move into the final weeks of our travels together, students begin to plan the lessons and activities that we participate in as a group.
Week 6 in Senegal/Week 10 Program: 11/21/17-11/28/17
The Expedition Phase of our trip takes place as we head east from Kolda to the Kedougou region of the country. In Kedougou, students work as a team to give input on the schedule in terms of activities, events, and different hiking opportunities that are presented as options by their instructors. Opportunities range from exploring how an explosion of gold mining has impacted the environment, economy, and public health of the region, to spending time exploring the rolling hills and beliefs of minority ethnic groups living in the region. Other options include visiting local waterfalls, and learning about chimpanzee conservation at the Jane Goodall Institute of Dindefelo. Throughout this phase, students are given additional leadership opportunities and challenges to allow them to demonstrate the many skills they have gained throughout the semester.
Week 7 in Senegal/Week 11 Program: 11/29/17-12/5/17
We conclude our travels together on the fabulous cliff-side beaches of Toubab Dialaw. During this Transference Phase of our course, we reflect on our experiences together and process what we have learned in both Madagascar and Senegal. We come together as a community to celebrate our final days together, preparing to take home our new passions, new skills, new friends, and a love of these two unique, vibrant, and dynamic places. We will spend our final night in Dakar, celebrating each other and the places and people who have taught us so much, and preparing for the long trip home.
Africa Program Director