Tuesday afternoon saw my group traveling by bus through Dakar to go to the FAWE Institute for an afternoon visit. This was my first glimpse of the city and being outside the confines of the hotel. My first impression was one of shock with the hundreds of unfinished construction projects that were scattered throughout the city. Sitting on the tour bus provided me with a birds eye view of the streets and neighborhood streets. Round abouts or traffic circles are quite common but the traffic congestion is unlike anything I have witnessed. There are no turn signals or distinguishable lanes. Taxis, horsecars and buses are all vying for a place to merge. People openly walk out in front of buses and other forms of transportation trying to sell their wares to the people passing by. We are traveling to downtown Dakar for an afternoon panel discussion with FAWE. Traditionally, girls and women have not been had access to the same educational opportunities for education in Senegal and other West African countries. The disparity and inequity is seen more predominantly after elementary school years and increases through the university level.
Today our in-country consultant, Rokhara Diop along with Ibrahim Sick, gave an interesting presentation and introduction to Sengalese History and Culture.
Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal’s economical and political capital is Dakar. It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World.
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups. Some kingdoms were created around the 7th century: Takur in the 9th century, Namandiru and the Jolof Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern Senegal was once part of the Ghana Empire.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east; the Jolof Empire of Senegal was also founded during this time. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved, typically as a result of captives taken in warfare.
You have but one life…Live it well” Teresa Shadoin
Waking up in another country is quite different from waking up at home. Disorientation, jet lag or insomnia often hit me when I travel. This morning was different though. After having an early breakfast I wandered around until I found the doors and path leading to the pool area and ocean. The guard who stood watch outside the hotel with an M-16 strapped to his side was disconcerting to me. In America, we are used to our own security protocol and do not see the presence of a national or personal militia watching us from so close.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius Leaving the safety of my small mountain community for an adventure of a lifetime! Asheville airport to Atlanta to connect with my TGC fellow teachers. We arrived in Paris and celebrated Senegal’s National Independence Day before departure to Dakar!