Dear Dragons Friends and Family,
On the road from Temanto Samba to Dene
Yesterday the village of Temanto Samba (the home village of instructor Samba Sow) held a beautiful farewell party for the students as they said goodbye to their homestay families. This morning, the group departed early for the long drive back to the northern part of Senegal. The group is currently on their way to Dene, a small seaside Sufi community near Lac Rose, Senegal’s famous pink lake. Dene is a small spiritual community led by Mayacine, the father of instructor Babacar Mbaye.
Please find some photos and videos of the party attached!
The original itinerary plan after the visit to Dene to have students then move into homestays in the capital city of Dakar on July 19 for the beginning of the Arafat and Tabaski holiday. However, due to a recent increase in Covid cases in Dakar, the Dragons Risk Management Team chose to eliminate the group’s time in an urban area during the holiday. Because the Arafat and Tabaski holidays traditionally involves a great deal of travel and visiting friends and neighbors, Senegalese President Macky Sall has requested the Senegalese population to celebrate at home this year to avoid spreading the virus. We also feel the most responsible course of action as visitors to the country is to minimize group travel during this time. The group now plans to spend two nights in Dene, celebrating the Arafat holiday with the Sufi community there.
While all students and instructors are fully vaccinated, we decided it was also prudent to switch the location of the urban homestay from Dakar to Thies in order to help protect our partner communities from the spread of Covid-19. After the Arafat holiday in Dene, students will travel to the city of Thies on June 20 and move into urban homestays in this smaller city center for the rest of Tabaski festivities. The Thies region is currently significantly less impacted by Covid than Dakar.
Currently the Senegalese government has put no additional restrictions in place in response to the increase in cases in the capital. The US State Department recently changed their travel advisory for Senegal from Level 1 (exercise normal precautions) to Level 2 (exercise increased caution). Dragons programs can typically operate normally in areas listed as Level 2. We will continue to monitor the situation in Senegal based on information from our contacts at the US Embassy in Senegal, and currently we do not foresee the need to make other additional changes to our programming in Senegal.
Please feel free to contact us at the Dragons office at 303.413.0822 if you have any questions about this itinerary shift.
Jenny & the Dragons Risk Management Team