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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

Collective Poem: How Was Senegal?

How Was Senegal?

Nine months of learning outside of the classroom, that taught me more than information— I began to walk with words of wisdom.

I built a family— an entire trilingual support system. There was rarely a moment when I felt lonely.

God was no longer a part of my life, He became my life and Muslims became my brothers and sisters.

After nine months of incubation, I have been reborn.

And Safiatou says “duma princesse,” because she knows she is a queen.

Breathing and pulsating: this is what it means to feel alive.

How was Senegal?

It was such a great time of learning and living in a new culture.

How was Senegal?

I enjoyed it so much because it was a chance for me to learn about both the world and myself before starting college.

How was Senegal?

Senegal was amazing— my family, my friends, the food, the language, the culture, everything, and I already miss it a lot.

Senegal received me with open arms, open hearts, and open homes everywhere I went.

Over these nine months I learned so much about a different culture, language, values, and about myself.

I’d say overall, I fell in love with Senegal and left a piece of my heart there.

I came to a place where the only similarity with home are the candies sold.

A place bountiful in things that not even Jeffrey Sachs could quantify.

Where following portion sizes on the wrapper of foods is the wrong thing to do.

Senegal, for me, was aflush with the new.

Music and food and history too.

Greatly, I grew.