Alison Rivera

Alison is most proud of her time spent completing the International Baccalaureate program, as well as her completion of 260 volunteer hours with BuildOn. Her passions revolve around issues dealing with society and education, and one of her greatest concerns is the growing disconnection between people and nature. She enjoys creative writing and literary analysis.


Yellow, Black, and White

Frustrated at times, amused at others. Being a Hispanic-American in Senegal is quite an extraordinary experience.    “‘Foo joge?” “Where do you come from?” they ask me as I sit next to the girl with light brown hair and green eyes. My tangled wavy hair and my dark brown eyes. Not only am I a…

23 April, 2013

Bricks by Bricks

I remember when Mom bought property; what it meant for the family…new start, a promise, the beginning of something better. The house was just missing paint, and it was completed… ready for our arrival. I also remember five months ago, how I hated the sight of cement buildings with no doors or installed windows no…

11 February, 2013

Here she is a girl… In America, she is a woman

“The randomness of where we are born and how much that determines who we become” – Blue Sweater p. 33 Popularly quoted as “Life is a box of chocolates.”  Just six words…but they resonate so much with women’s social status in Senegal. At training seminar 2, myself and three other fellows held a discussion on…

11 February, 2013

Xaliis bii

The kids call me money “xaliis,” “l’argent.” They pull literally my skirt but figuratively my head out of the clouds for America isn’t a hero here but more of an arrogant exhibitionist. I thought all “Toubabs” were viewed the same until I met an old French man. Being a good host to his model wife’s…

11 February, 2013

The ‘Girl’ Effect

I met this one girl in Dakar. She was cool; she took me out dancing one night. Brazen would not describe her but the slang word “sassy” will.  Her false name is going to be Alpha; not exactly a pseudonym since the name perfectly describes her. Catholic, Senegalese, single mother were my very first impressions….

26 October, 2012

Would you rather?

Let’s play the game “would you rather:”   Would you rather…   Would you rather travel to another continent or would you rather drive 6 hours north to a university? Would you rather sit in a small class room that felt more like a family or would you rather sit in a university’s lecture halls?…

28 September, 2012

“A Girl From South Bronx Going to Senegal”

The dirty worn out shoes made their way down the aisle, their owner slowly shaking a used Dunkin Donut’s coffee cup. There are probably about two dimes in the cup. He starts off telling his tragic story:  lost job, no family, hunger. The woman across from me clutches her Louis Vuitton purse tightly; the teen…

10 July, 2012

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Alison Rivera