We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Senegal in just a few days! We’re sure you’re busy wrapping up your work, preparing for the program, and packing! We would like to share a few points based on common questions received from some group members:
Airport pick ups: We’ve arranged airport pick ups for each of you. The driver (and one of us) will be waiting at arrivals holding a sign with your name. A few of you are arriving at the same time or on the same flight, in this case we have grouped you into the same car.
Schedule for evening of 15th February: We’ve booked rooms in Thies at Hotel Rex for each of you and the driver will take you to the hotel. These are twin rooms so you may be sharing with another group member. Samba and I will be in and out of the hotel and staying at his home nearby. Once everybody arrives we will plan to have dinner together and do an early night, and then meet in the lobby of the hotel to start our orientation activities the next morning.
Contact numbers: If you have any issues, you can call Samba on +221781822642 or Jenny on +221775470635. These numbers also work with WhatsApp.
Entering Senegal: When you arrive at the airport, the immigration officer (or form) will ask where you are staying, you can simply list your address as Hotel Rex, Thies, Senegal (you shouldn’t need this, but the details are: hotel phone number: +221 339511081, hotel street address: Rue de Douaumont, Thies). Please feel free to use one of our phone numbers if they request a contact number. There is an ATM and money changing spot after you leave immigration and customs. When you arrive, look for a sign with your name (and/or DRAGONS) written on it (the driver will be waiting inside the airport so do not go outside to look).
Luggage: A few have asked about bringing a suitcase instead of a backpack. This is fine, although there are some places where it is sandy and tough to roll a suitcase. In Senegal, everything is based on family, so there is always someone around to help if you need.
Immunizations and Vaccines: The most current information on immunizations and other health recommendations is the CDC website. Some of you have asked about the Yellow Fever vaccine. Because Yellow Fever is a risk in Senegal, the CDC recommends all adult travelers to the country receive a Yellow Fever vaccine. While you do not always have to show proof of vaccination to enter Senegal, once you have visited Senegal you may need proof of Yellow Fever vaccine in order to travel to home or onward to your next destination. Chloroquine-resistant malaria is also a risk throughout the country, and if you choose to take a prophylaxis anti-malarial medication please see your doctor for recommendations. Doxycycline is usually locally available but it can be harder to get Malarone (atovaquone-proguanil). Sleeping in a mosquito net every night is another important precaution to prevent bites from mosquitos that carry malaria (who are mainly active from dusk until dawn), and also protects you from potential exposure to other insects or animals.
Homestay gifts: we will have four nights in a homestay in the village in Niodior, as well as a potential overnight with an additional family in the town of Thies. It’s great to bring some simple, inexpensive gifts for the homestay family. We recommend gifts that are conversation starters and allow you to engage with your family, such as things that are related to your hometown or state. Toys or interactive activities also go down well with children in the family. If you don’t have time to prepare this, no problem, as we can easily pick something appropriate up in Thies.
Itinerary: We will discuss the itinerary with you in detail during orientation. We did want to let you know that because presidential elections are scheduled to happen on February 24th, we may need to be flexible around our plans to head to Dakar at that time (since student political protests are a common occurrence and can make it inconvenient to get around the city due to road blockades). We are getting the latest info from our friends at the US Embassy in Dakar and will continue to keep you updated.
We hope you are looking forward to the program. We have been preparing all the last minute details and we’re very excited to learn with you next week.
Please get in touch if you have any further questions before your travels to Senegal!
All the best,
Jenny and Samba