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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

The X-Phase

Chaos. Carnage. Catastrophy. Since the latest development in this Bridge Year Program, I can only assume that this is what awaits us as we descend into a “Lord of the Flies”-like anarchy. We, the students, have become the instructors. This is the ‘X-Phase’.

We thought we were arriving at a planning meeting for excursion. After waiting a while, we were beginning to think that Jenny and Babacar had forgotten about our appointment. That’s when a memory stick was slipped under the door. We realised that this was another of Jenny and Babacar’s legendary disappearing acts. The first was in the village of Ndioukhane, where we were met by a poem telling us to make our way to the nearby city of Thies, meeting the instructors there. Next was during the ‘Dakar Rally,’ an epic treasure hunt to mark three months in Dakar, where we discovered by means of riddle that we would discover Jenny and Babacar well outside of Dakar. This time they outdid themselves. We watched a troubling (and slightly hilarious) recording of the kidnapping of Jenny and Babacar, before receiving a ransom note explaining that they have been replaced by the identical but much less competent ‘Kevin and Trufflehead.’ As a result, the leadership of the programme has fallen to us, the students.

So what does this mean? Our day-to-day activities aren’t changing, but we are now responsible for planning activites, arranging our guest speakers, budgeting, and generally deciding the direction of the programme and completing some of the administrative tasks involved. The highlight of all this is the 10-day excursion to the Sine-Saloum delta that we will take from March 27, for which responsibility rests in our hands.

So that is what is called ‘The X-Phase’ of our Bridge Year Program. A chance for us to develop our leadership skills, to test all that we’ve learnt so far, and hopefully we’ll avoid complete and utter chaos.