Students recently finished up their first homestay in Thies in Senegal which is a town of about 600,000 people. This was the students’ second homestay experience so far on the semester. While in Theis we had a chance to continue eating and learning how to prepare delicious local food. We also prepared bissap juice and students celebrated by Halloween carving watermelons.
After wrapping up our homestay, we travelled to Ndem a very peaceful village and we were warmly welcomed there by the community members led by Fatou, a very sweet and dedicated woman who has a heart of gold. She gave us a tour of the locally made handicraft workshops and we also learned to make pumpkin with ginger jam and our own leather jewelry. While in Ndem we also practiced our Wolof language to communicate with community members.
After two days in Ndem, we visited Mbacke Kadior, a nearby village where we started learning Pulaar, met new friends, collected bissap fruit, and planted trees. We explored the place and visited a sacred baobab tree which offered a calm place to meditate and reconnect to self or others silently. This particular baobab is very old and hollow on the inside. From a heart shaped hole in the tree you can see bats living in harmony inside the baobab. Our time in the 2 villages of Ndem and Mbacke Kadior taught us a lot about living in peace and brotherhood, no matter where we are from.
After finishing our time in Mbacke Kadior, we headed back to Thies to say goodbye to the homestay families and threw a farewell evening party. We then set out for Kolda in the south of the country which is located 2 hours away from our next village homestay. To get to Kolda, we drove for 12 hours and were pleased that along the way the weather grew cooler. Since being in Kolda, the students have been exploring the town and eating local food before we head to our last homestay community tomorrow.
Warm regards from all of us! ❤️