Brooke Donner

Brooke is passionate about planet earth and everything on it. She is involved in building vegetable and herb gardens in local public schools, has played competitive soccer for 10 years, and was the editor-in-chief of her high school's newspaper. Brooke enjoys backpacking, playing with her pup, and laughing until she cries. Her goals for the year are to offer as much as she receives and to make "yes" the most common word in her vocabulary. One of Brooke's favorite quotes is from The Office's Michael Scott: "Everyone said to Vincent Van Gogh, 'You can't be a great painter, you only have one ear.' And you know what he said? 'I can't hear you.'"

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Eight months in four minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCoC5D5488s A sanguine overview of my bridge year in Senegal. For a slightly more honest and raw account, look back at my previous blogs.  Peace only. 

01 November, 2016

Water: a photo essay

Here’s a look at how we use water around my host family’s compound in Kédougou, Senegal.    My neighbor’s well was our primary source of water until it and most other wells in the neighborhood dried up in late February.    I’ve been getting my…

29 March, 2016

Dear current and future high school students

Dear current and future high school students, There will come a time, for most of you, when you apply to college. You’ll flip through the Fiske Guide, Google photos of campuses, and join Facebook groups full of other applicants just like you. You’ll make a…

15 March, 2016

Embracing all aspects

My life here in Senegal has been full of extremes— extreme moments, people, and emotions— each battling to pull me over to their end of the spectrum.   When I ride my bike through town, people often yell “toubab, okan kado”— “white person, offer me…

03 March, 2016

Who do you want to become?

After receiving answers like “teacher,” “nurse,” and “soldier,” Mr. Sall turned to me and asked, “What do you want to become in the future?” As I looked out at the classroom full of 13 year old students, my mind flickered to the list of college…

12 January, 2016

Thankful to know

Every year on Thanksgiving, in between backyard games of spud and plates piled high with mashed potatoes and strawberry mush pie, my family passes around a composition book. Its cover is bound in a paper grocery bag and adorned in doodles, and at the top…

25 November, 2015

The Pink Mirror

In the Kedougou region of Senegal, in the neighborhood of Lawol Tamba in Kedougou City, in my hut in my host family’s compound, hangs a pink mirror. It’s small, no bigger than an ordinary paperback book, and it hangs at just the right height that…

24 October, 2015

Empathy: singing and dancing in holes

It happened immediately. As soon as I stepped outside of the gated parking lot of the airport in Dakar, a young boy approached me. He held out his hand with his palm facing up toward the cloudless sky of a hot Senegalese summer morning. In…

18 September, 2015

Push and Pull

My eyes focused on my feet, concentrating on each step to ensure a safe landing onto the road below me. There was dry sand in some places and thick mud in others. Cracks, puddles, stones and broken cinderblocks presented themselves as obstacles to my first…

05 September, 2015

Ready together

Last night we danced. Senegalese pop music bounced off the trunks of centuries-old redwood trees as we encircled a campfire and attempted to follow the lead of our dance instructor Christian, a fellow Senegal Fellow from Germany (I’m still not sure why he knew the…

27 August, 2015

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Brooke Donner