Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


Season’s Greetings (This Week On Senegal #3)
by | January 15, 2015

Season’s Greetings! Let’s talk about greetings, shall we? Here is a: Guideline for Greeting in Senegal
Step 1: Wish peace on the person you are greeting. They shall wish peace back.
Step 2: Ask how they are doing. They shall respond by saying that they are here.
Step 3: Ask about their family. Expect to be told, rather ambiguously, that they’re over there.
Step 4: Ask where specific family members of theirs are located. Expect to be told they’re in peace.
Step 5: If any questions are reciprocated to you, respond with “peace only”. Jamm Rekk. 
Step 6: Finish by…Read the rest »

Our Community
by | January 7, 2015

The other day I ran into a guy who I had briefly seen twice before, once in the first week of my homestay, and again about a month ago. He is a student at the University of Dakar, but he spends his vacations in Joal, his hometown. This time when I saw him, he told me about an organization that he is part of, LETCET, which promotes better living conditions for children and opportunities for them to study, particularly the children known as the Talibé, who spend their days begging rather than in school and almost always live in substandard…Read the rest »

Dec. 9th, Journal Entry
by | December 30, 2014

Dec 9, 21hr I had a great trip to Mbour today. It didn’t start out great. In fact, I almost backed out of my plans. Everyone was concerned I was leaving late (15:30) and then, because everyone is headed to Touba (the religious city), there were few buses going the opposite direction, to Mbour. I needed to get the ornaments sent if there was any chance that they would arrive near Christmas. So I went. Finally, I was on a bus, it was small, but not crammed; good thing, it was hot today. All was fine until the guy who…Read the rest »

We Share
by | December 26, 2014

On a brisk spring morning 14 years ago, my Costa Rican father and gringa (Caucasian) mother got up at 3:30 in the morning and waited in line all day to ensure my enrollment in a bilingual immersion elementary school. When I reached middle and high school, they coerced me (that may be a slight exaggeration) into taking French and Spanish, no matter how competent the teachers. Language classes have always been a part of my life. But my most unexpected linguistic lesson happened in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle, 20 kilometers from civilization. I had been volunteering for…Read the rest »

Home for the Holidays
by | December 26, 2014

The other day I was sitting in my family’s tienda (a little corner store that sells food and random necessities like shampoo) eating pancakes and eggs that I had cooked with Mamita and Vecina (the family friend that lives with us – “vecina” means neighbor). I like to cook for my Mamita, especially when she’s working in the tienda, because I feel like I’m being helpful, plus I get to eat some of the American food I miss so dearly. Anyway, we were eating and talking about the diversity in both Ecuador and the United States when there was a…Read the rest »

Not Your Typical Toubab
by | December 23, 2014

Noun /tu.bab/ Toubab : West Africa – white person (used especially in Gambia and Senegal) Although the official definition indicates that the term is only used for white Westerners, I must clarify that at least here in Senegal, people from all descents, backgrounds and places around the world whose skin is not black are referred as a Toubab. During my time here I’ve met people from Brazil, Belgium, Argentina and even Japan each and every one of them with different physical features, languages and customs but is ironic that on this country we all Toubabs. The word can also be…Read the rest »
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Vagringa / Varinga / Vaginga
by | December 23, 2014

The white jersey dribbles down the field, to the right, where in some fast-paced seconds, she steals the ball and places it on the feet of a colored shirt 20 meters down the field. They cheer and holler, the crowd of ten or so. Que rico está la noche, the night time air. For the first time since arriving in Ecuador, she is playing. After asking her boss’s husband, her Papi, her friends, a stranger on a bus – if they knew about women’s soccer, if they played pickup games, if she could join. Finally she was playing fútbol.…Read the rest »

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