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Hello from Mbacke Kadior

I am currently sitting barefoot under the shade of a baobab tree watching the sun setting behind the clouds cast an orange haze on the surrounding fields. This is Mbacke Kadior. After spending our first ten days in the sandy coastal villages of Dene and Mouit, approaching Mbacke Kadior in our sticky un-air conditioned van, not only was I eager for some fresh air but I was struck by the rolling green hills leading up to the dara. A dara is a village that lives by the principles of one Islaamic brotherhood. Mbacke Kadior is a spiritual community centered around the teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba and Cheikh Ibrahima Fall the founders of the Baye Fall and Mauride brotherhood. The people of Mbacke Kadior started to build this dara from the ground up just four years ago next to the holy site where Amadou Bamba and Ibrahima Fall met for the first time. One of the principles of this community is to embrace spirituality through work. Whether that be construction, sustainable agriculture, or cooking, everyone in this community helps out. For the past two days that has included us! Both today and yesterday our group got our hands dirty working on the two farms here. I had never thought of physical labor as spiritual work before. Yesterday we planted trees and today we watered them. I understood the communal and environmental benefits of planting trees but never considered the benefit planting a tree had on me. Living only three days in this dara I now realize planting a tree can be humbling. Planting a tree makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself. The trees we planted will support this community and be supported by this community for years to come. As I planted trees yesterday I also planted some Jewish New Year resolutions. I hope in this coming year to embrace the Mbacke Kadior spirit and give more of myself to others and the world around me. I will miss Mbacke Kadior.