It has been a joy to see the faces of our participants with people we love and hold dear in Senegal. Allegra is pictured here with Oulaye, the wife of my Senegalese brother, Mbouille. Mbouille and I led the first Dragons program in Senegal way back in 2005; since then he and his family have become an essential part of my life as well as a part of the Dragons community. We are lucky enough to have Mbouille and Oulaye hosting Allegra for a couple nights during the group’s stay in their home town of Thies. And my husband and I were lucky enough to have Mbouille come visit us in the States two summers ago; we’re hoping to see him again Stateside when he returns for work this April.
The other image is of Nalini with our dear friend Mamadou Ndiaye. I met Mamadou in 2000 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the southern part of the country. When we first started running programs in Senegal, before it was easy to locate people or find a way to contact them, I searched and searched to find Mamadou so we could offer him a position as a drum teacher for our students. He turned out to be much much more than a drum teacher; he jumped right into our educational style and served as a cultural ambassador, stepping up and helping students in their homestay families, supporting instructors with logistics, and sometimes acting as translator. Now Mamadou is an integral part of all of Dragons programming in Senegal; from our Bridge Year Programs to our summer programs to our West Africa semesters and now our trip for adult travelers. Thank you Mamadou!
It’s hard to believe that the group is already on Day 3 and soon they will be moving along to a more rural location heading towards the beautiful island of Ndiordior. Wishing them a safe and joyful journey!