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Ananda Day

11 Jul 2011 One Year On

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a Global Citizen Year event. With new and old faces, prospective and returning fellows, and many of the people that make Global Citizen Year tick, I felt the close of another circle. This loop,...

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23 Aug 2010 Good Grief

The idiom "good grief" has always seemed a bit oxymoronic to me. How can it be that grief is good in anyways? Perhaps this is why "good grief" is often used as an exclamation expressing something bad that has come along- like rain on a...

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27 Apr 2010 Perchance to Dream

The phrase that keeps going through my head? It feels like a dream. When I actually say it out loud, I am referencing how surreal it is to be leaving my host family and Senegal - a fact that I have known, but something that...

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10 Apr 2010 Willy Wonka’s Village

Last week I met a Brazilian-Baptist-ex-missionary current NGO worker named Salete. On Friday, Alec and I went along with her and her Brazilian-medical-Baptist missionary friend to the Village of M’Bissaou where she helps out at the local Case de Sante each and every Friday, has a football school with her husband, and aids the village in connecting them to different organizations. First we visited a school that was started by Madame Wade’s (the Presidents wife) NGO, and funded by a Moroccan donor. I really didn’t know schools like this existed here- I literally was walking around with my mouth open half o f the time. From the outside it was beautiful with each building domed in the Moroccan style and covered in a cream paint. Inside the gates were trees galore -manguiers, a rare tree arboretum, and a garden. To the side was a fenced in building being used to store the organically grown produce from the nearby fields and the compost that fertilized them- a perfect full circle scene if you may. Throughout the grounds one sees colored swingsets and play materials scattered about. When we actually went into one of the brightly lit classrooms there was no let down- space enough for the nicer desks, larger blackboards, air flowing, and sun shining in though the large windows. The biggest shock had to be the computer room though. Maybe thirty computers lined up, all plugged in and available for use, early-age French DVD’s being used for language acquisition, a teacher that can fix the computers, enough power to turn them all on and at the same time, and even a printer/scanner for the teachers use. In Senegal timeliness is a huge problem, especially in the school system. Teachers arrive on time rarely, late most of the time, and are absent often. To address this problem, rooms were build on school grounds for all of the teachers to stay in during the week (each with its own computer), cutting out transportation and food excuses often used. Once a week local women are taught how to read and write using the schools rooms. Forgive me if I seem incredulous, but after seeing public and private schools that cant even come up to one of the aforementioned aspects, it’s a bit shocking. What would cutting out the regular gloomy, crowded, concrete blocks do to Senegal’s education system? More importantly, what would it do for the students?
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22 Mar 2010 Open letter to GCY Applicant

Dear You, Person reading this, maybe even GCY applicant,

Hows life ? Whenever my friends and I talk that's where we start. Last year at this time, life was centered around school , soccer, and figuring out college . The thought of a gap year started when I was applying for scholarships, and the ones that excited me most were those that focused on travel, experiencing the world, and learning through it. Even after I was done with all the applications, I now had this little bird flying around my head with those ideas, or dreams might be a more appropriate term. Now I have always been a self-professed geek - I love school, learning, and even back-to-school shopping, so this new found obsession did not derive from not wanting to go to school. If anything, it came from exactly that: my "geeky" love for learning.

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21 Mar 2010 The New “Mariage à la Mode”

Years ago when the French first arrived in Saint Louis du Senegal, male colonists created transient marriages with local women while in country and would return to France, leaving everything, including any relationship title, behind. Going by the name of “mariage à la mode”, these relationships were used by locals to advance themselves through associative power transfer, in the very least gaining status by their connections with the white colonists, and at the most "escaping" to western civilization. Though many details have changed, a modern day marriage à la mode can still be seen in existence in present day Senegal. Last week I was eating breakfast at the family restaurant, and in walked Marga (or Margia while traveling). She is average height, mid-thirties, not very sweet on the eyes in the kindest way possible, a Dutch philosophy teacher for first through twelfth graders, and happens to be in Senegal for sex. Specifically with Ibrahim, who is twenty-two, intelligent, speaks seven different languages, and is perfectly beautiful. While Ibrahim was fetching her breakfast, we found common ground in the fact that we both speak English better than French, and then began to discuss our reasons for being here: me with my studies, and her with Ibrahim. It turns out that she had met him on the beach of Kumba Diallo after she had become sufficiently fed up with all of her Baye Fall flings. Our areas converged on the topic of development, for what does this burgeoning sex and escape trade mean for a country today? Tourism, peanuts, and music are the current industries floating Senegal along the upper tier of developing countries. Tourist come here and spend their money, be it on trinkets, transportation, lodging, guides, food, flights, or “buying some love” (a direct quote from Ms. Margia). Economics says that when there is a market and demand, no doubt a supply will be found. With its developing status and constant search for new economies, it is no wonder that Senegal has caught onto this trade. Unemployment is rampant here, even for those with college degrees. With the uneducated and graduates sitting side by side on a bench drinking tea, and a constant need for money to supply and infinite list from school to food, most will do anything for even the scent of income. This is set in contrast to the excess of the west, where surplus everything is much more common. With respect to relationships, Toubabs (whites, or foreigners) offer three options today. The first option is the quite clear cut prostitution. The locals make a profit, the foreigners get what they want, and its over in whatever amount of time. Option two is the in country relationship. While here, the local will essentially be have a liaison with the foreigner, traveling, and eating, experiencing, ensemble. They may get gifts or expenses taken care of, but the most that comes out of this is a status high that many hold in a possibly warped proportion.
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26 Feb 2010 A Little Ditty About Self-Forgiveness

A couple of weeks ago a lot of personally and monetarily valued things were stolen from me. Cameras, phone, favorite shirts, money, and so on. The roughest part by far being the loss of my notebook containing four months of notes and all of the...

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