Back to

Pre-Course Assignment

Hey everyone!

My name is Arli and I’m from the Bronx in New York City! I am 15 years old and will be going into my junior year of high school. My family is of Mexican descent and have been living in the city my whole life. However, through a program in middle school, I was able to attend a boarding school in New Hampshire and currently spend the majority of the year there. I was exposed to the backcountry and now enjoy sports like rock climbing, ice climbing, and I really hope I learn how to ski. I also enjoy playing lacrosse and have a huge passion for social justice and hope to one day resolve the many problems of our world. In school, I take part in many clubs like Model UN, Diversity Club and started the Latinx Affinity Group and serve as VP for Girl Up (focuses on advocating for girls in developing countries through to achieve gender equality). This will be my first time traveling overseas so I’m super nervous. I found WTBD through a representative at my school which sparked my interest in traveling abroad. In terms of Senegal, I wanted to immerse myself in the culture that was different from the one’s NYC or NH or in Mexico, broadening my understanding of the world and learn how to appreciate the culture.  Also, I’m a big fan of candy in general and love milk chocolate.

The environmental issue that I decided to focus on and will continue to focus on during the trip is the plastic waste crisis and pollution. With an ever growing population and with over ⅓ or 16 million Senegalese living under the poverty line, there has been an increase in the production of plastic waste. One of the main industrial activities in Senegal includes fishing but the fishing industry is facing a decline due to water pollution. The plastic waste crisis also places an additional challenge for people in rural communities as the demands for potable water and sanitation services continues to increase. From 2010 to 2015, The Water and Sanitation Millennium Project worked on expanding water production and distribution systems 372,000 people with improved water systems in both urban and rural areas. Still, many live without a sustainable potable water system. Many now are taking initiative and cleaning up beaches as trash builds up on shore. During Harmattan Season (end of November and the middle of March), dry and dusty wind and large amounts of plastic is blown from Senegal into the Atlantic Ocean. Single-use plastics are very common in Senegal like single-use carrier bags which are free and grows the amount of plastic used. Other countries like Rwanda are in the process of banning single-use plastics.


“Senegal: Increasing Access to Sustainable Water and Sanitation Services.” The World Bank. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2019. <>.

Reporter, Staff. “Senegal’s Plastic Waste Crisis – in Pictures.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 13 Apr. 2019. Web. 11 June 2019.


Can’t wait to meet you all!!!!!