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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

This post was meant to be dedicated towards our two-week long excursion during which we spent four days trekking and four days experiencing the peace of village life in Timanto Samba. However, due to some recent commentary by President Donald Trump regarding immigration from “…Africa and other shithole countries,” BY Senegal felt it important to directly address President Trump and bring attention to the myriad of problematic mindsets these comments demonstrate. First of all, what should be needless to say, Africa is not a country. It is a continent composed of fifty-four (54!) different countries, each with a plethora of cultures, ethnicities, and traditions within themselves. Furthermore, the denotation of an entire continent and population as a “shithole” truly highlights the pervasive ignorance regarding Africa in the western world. The images above depict beautiful landscapes; amazing, talented, wise, and inspiring people; and the peace and love that arise when people come together with a willingness to learn from another and view each other as humans, friends, and family, rather than the “us vs. them” mentality that Trump perpetuates. This post goes out to Samba Sow, who worked for 10 years to become an American citizen, and has the most amazing story if you only bother to ask; Babacar Mbaye who was named most inspirational speaker by two dragons groups to Senegal before he even worked for the Where There be Dragons organization; Kine Mbaye, who carried her four year old child up a mountain on her back, just so baby Safiatou could appreciate the view; Saliou Diallo, who works everyday to educate people around him on the value of protecting the environment and who guided our trekking; Keba Mané, our language teacher who speaks nine languages; and many more. These people, who Trump would write off as citizens of a “shithole country” and deny entry to the US have stories and wisdom and LIVES that are worth so much, and I can say that if Samba Sow were denied entry, deny us too because I can’t imagine living in a world where I don’t have access to these amazing people.