Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


Halugol, Famugol
by | July 15, 2014

(Pulaar to English title translation: To Speak, To Understand)
In February, I alone headed out to Dakar to meet my family as they arrived in Senegal to visit me. Being fourteen hours away by car from my host family, I called them on the phone and my host mother, Neena Dialamba, asked “A suusi lootade?”(Are you brave enough to wash yourself?). Without cultural context, this question is odd. But at this point in time, Dakar was very cold compared to where I lived in Kedougou. In Kedougou, we take bucket showers. If it is cold outside in the morning, people…

Read the rest »

Year In Review
by | July 1, 2014

The old cliché tells us that a picture is worth a thousand words. As painful as it is to hear this trite little expression, I think that it holds true. As such, I thought that for my last blog post of the program cycle I would throw together a little gallery of some of my favourite photos from the year to provide a concise little window into the past eight months of my life. Enjoy!
Party Time

A local wind band comes out to celebrate the festivals of San Miguel, the patron saint of the town of Puela. The

Read the rest »

More Than I Ever Have Before
by | May 23, 2014

I cried,
More than I ever have before.
I sobbed,
Body wracking sobs that left me tired.
I did it in the dark,
Holding it until I was alone.
But the tears shed at night were not alone.
There were tears of joy.
Tears of departure.
Tears of laughter.
And oh, did I laugh,
More than I ever have before.
I laughed.
With my friends.
My coworkers.
My host family.
I laughed at the ridiculous days.
At the days that made no sense,
And at those that made too much sense.
I dropped my jaw in awe,
So far I…

Read the rest »

Sweet Sugar Water
by | May 12, 2014

First my host uncle bought some sugar cane. Then his sons and his wife scraped off the bark, stuck it through a hand crank machine, and his family and I watched as the liquid spurted into a pitcher. It was a pleasant afternoon. The juice was nice with some specks of rust. I was glad to see the family take an entire afternoon to sit around and enjoy this drink.
The process reminded me of making apple cider back home. My family makes apple cider because there are apples around. My host family makes caldo de cana because there is…

Read the rest »

by | May 9, 2014

“Today, we’re going closer to heaven”
Those were the words my friend Adela greeted me with yesterday. She and her husband had invited me to dig up the potatoes we planted together in some of my first weeks on their farm in the neighboring town of Susutul. Together with an army of in-laws we embarked on the twenty minute ride in the back of a lechero (U-haul sized truck that flys around the Andes collecting milk from farmers) to the top of the mountain on which we live.
Before I go on though, I just want to give some quick background on…

Read the rest »

The Students of COMBEMI make a . . .
by | May 6, 2014

The citizenry teacher at COMBEMI decided to make a suspended garden with her 12-14 year old students during the fall semester of 2013. I was lucky enough to help the teacher and film the students throughout the process. There was always a bit of difficulty in motivating the students to work (I think the camera’s constant presence helped out). While creating this project I also realized how important structure is for students at this age. If we had one minute without planned activity, total chaos broke out; there was candy thrown across the room, desks rearranged and phones out, ipods…

Read the rest »

Tailoring with Mane
by | May 6, 2014

If you know me then you probably know monotony and I do not get along, so I’ve traded in my days teaching English at the school (for other reasons as well, which is a whole other blog post) for sewing at Mane’s tailor shop.
Tailoring is a huge market in Senegal. In Kebemer, the majority of clothes people wear are traditional & tailor made.
From Monday to Saturday, I wake up around 8 or 9 am and go grab my bread from my family’s local bread seller. I usually either get mayonnaise or ndambe ( a bean mix) from the…

Read the rest »

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.