Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


The bigger picture
by | September 21, 2014

I found myself lost in the middle of Quito. We were five gringos with maps out trying to find the next point on the map to check off for the chance to win a mystery prize at the end of the race.
Task 1: Find a place for “Almuerzo” that costs no more than 2.75$. We must have walked by this same place about 2 or 3 times. Making indecisive decisions, not truly knowing where we were, stoping in to just any old place on a “not so safe” looking road, didn’t seem like a good idea.
What We Found:…

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In A Relationship with Life
by | September 18, 2014

September 16th, 2014
It has been a month since I left home in Malaysia and already so much has taken place. I want to share it all – families, training, failures, triumphs, conversations, mosquito bites, mangoes, inspirations, marriage proposals, tears, dances, quirky language teachers, baobabs et cetera – but I’m afraid I have no idea where to begin or how I will stop!
Two weeks ago, in one of the evening training sessions, the Senegal Cohort had to come up with our personal visions for the year. We had just gotten back from our heavy Senegalese lunches at home and…

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Baby Steps
by | September 8, 2014

When I saw the Philippines vs. Senegal basketball game on the TV in my families’ home, my cheeks moved into a consuming smile and happy tears sprung to my eyes. Because culture shock ain’t no joke.
My life in Senegal is hard to undersand. Wolof sounds like everyone is playing a practical joke on me and actually talking in gibberish. My French comes in and out unpredictably to the massive frustration of my ten year old little sister who when I don’t understand something will sassily say J’AI DIT (I SAID) and then the sentence louder. Personal space isn’t a Senegalese…

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Beat of Brasil
by | September 5, 2014

When we dance
We are in-suppressible. Boisterous yet harmonious.
We hear the music and we move.
Boogie, Wop, Charleston, and Foxtrot,
Careening, Jitter-bug-ing, Leanin’ down the block
The music is in the road, in the sky and in the sea.
Lagoa has a soft hymn. The kind you have to hear to believe.
A melody in the way the sun sets behind the water and the trees.
The Blue Mountains that shield Floripa from the sea.
It is a symphony of beauty.
We can tell you this, all of us. All nineteen.
The music. It’s in the sugar cane machine…

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Un Nuevo Amigo
by | September 4, 2014

As we sat at a table in La Cuchara de San Marcos with our new friend, Pablo Salme, the sun setting over the awe inspiring Andes, he told us why he chose to help us that day.
Here is a translation of Pablo Salme’s words:
“When I see that you are happy, it makes me happy. Then when you see that I am happy, you are happy too. This is a heart to heart connection, and the world needs more of these. So many wars could have been avoided if there were more connections like this. We have the power…

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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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