Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


Asalaa maalekum!
by | August 7, 2014

Asalaa maalekum! (Peace be upon you) This is the first line of a formal Senegalese greeting. Greetings in Senegal are of upmost importance and are given a great deal of time to show the person you are greeting proper consideration.
With that said, here is a quick introduction of myself: my name is Liz Schmidt and I am from Medina, Ohio. I am preparing to live in Senegal; although I do not yet what my apprenticeship will be, I hope to hold a teaching position, work on an environmental conservation project, or assist local businesses. The countdown to my pre-departure…

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(Not) The End
by | August 3, 2014

I started crying on the morning two days before I left Gale Neenang Dialamba et Babang Sori, the place I have called home for the last eight months and always will. “Wataa wulu, wataa wulu. A wuli. Yewni.” (Don’t cry, don’t cry. Alright, you’ve cried, enough.) My family, outside the kitchen, was telling me, waiting for me to compose myself so we- Aissatou, Juma, Neenang Rougi (my younger host mother) and myself, could go to the market to buy the ingredients I would need to throw my goodbye party that evening. My neighbor, Neenee Mama, had just brought over a…

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Mangi Fi Rekk
by | July 30, 2014

In Wolof, “How are you?” is said “Nanga def?” which literally means “Where are you?”. The usual response to this is “Mangi fi rekk.” which means, “I am here.” By saying “I am here,” you are saying that you are alive, and that is something to be grateful for. “I am here” and that in itself is a beautiful thing. I don’t know very much Wolof yet, but I’m already falling in love with the vibrance and energy of the language. To quote my language coach, Barker, “French is, for lack of a better word, sexy. But Wolof is a…

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Five Thousand Mile Bridge
by | July 30, 2014

Hello! My name is Nick Chieng; I am 18 years old and a graduate of Franklin High School’s class of 2014.
“Half of the time I couldn’t understand what he was saying because he spoke with a thick
accent, but immersed in the moment of it all, that didn’t even matter. There I was walking the streets of Insadong in Seoul, South Korea with a caring host brother who knew about where I came from and wanted to learn more about it. I wasn’t worried about whether or not I was using the correct honorific ending or forming adverbs correctly. That didn’t matter …

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Dakar community

Mixed Faces
by | July 30, 2014

When people ask me the obvious, just graduated High School, question “so where are your going to school next year?” I can never help but to laugh and just blurt out “Africa” and watch the looks on people’s faces.
I have gotten so many mixed reviews and mixed faces from my questioners. There are those, of the majority, who tell me how lucky I am to be going on a “once in a lifetime experience.” There are those who look me as if I was clinically insane for wanting to “be so far away from AMERICA” as if this was the…

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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…

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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

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