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Introduction and Pre-Course Assignment

Hi everyone!

My name is Jenna. I am 16. I am from Potomac, Maryland, which is right outside of DC. I am going to be a senior in high school next year. I enjoy swimming. For fun I like to hang out with my friends and attempt to play the guitar. My family consists of my mom, dad, brother, and dog, Scout. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go on a Dragons program last summer in Nepal. It was an amazing experience. I decided to go on another Dragons program because I learned so much in Nepal last summer, and I think it is a unique opportunity to explore other cultures with Dragons. I chose Senegal because as I read the program description and past yaks, I could envision immersing myself in the rich Senegalese culture. I also like how the program takes on a unique anthropological approach as I am interested in studying anthropology in college. I am most excited for the homestays because I know I will learn so much from them. I am nervous for the trek but also excited for it. I hope to contribute my curiosity for learning to the group. And I like milk chocolate better than dark chocolate. 🙂

As I was deciding what to research, I had a very hard time picking one topic because I found everything super interesting. Eventually, I settled on desertification, which is when dryland regions become deserts because of natural or human causes, some of which include drought, climate change, deforestation, incorrect farming, or some combination of these. As a result, biological diversity decreases. Rain comes less often, and soil becomes less fertile, so animals, especially livestock, do not have much food, and crops have lower yields. This process is occurring right now in Senegal, especially in Northern Senegal. With significantly lower crop yields and little rain, many farmers and others who inhabit regions affected by desertification migrate, many to cities in Senegal such as Dakar, while others choose to leave Senegal altogether. With so many people, especially young adults, moving to urban centers in Senegal, desertification contributes to another issue in Senegal, urban migration. I am looking forward to learning more about this very soon!

I can’t wait to meet all of you!


PS. There is a good article in the Course Reader about desertification if you want to learn more! It is in section 3.