Elias Estabrook

A German-American, Elias embraces his bi-cultural background during his travels, using his fluency in German and Spanish to make cross-cultural connections. He is an avid social activist, and is highly engaged with both his local and global communities. Elias was the Social Action Coordinator of his church’s youth group, leader of Community Building in his high school's student government, and has worked on projects in Niger and Guatemala. In his free time, he is a seasoned soccer player and runner as well as a fan of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop music. He is also an occasional poet and writer.


Singing to the Heavens

Rhythms run through the blood of the Senegalese. As much they depend on their daily dose of thiebudiene, rice and fish, or atayaa, sweet tea, seldom can you find them without music. Radios broadcasting ensembles of drums, some full and steady, others quick and pattering  — the nation’s most popular genre, mbalakh — accompany my…

02 May, 2012

How We Care for Each Other

In mid-October, the second week in my village, I caught the flu. Fatigued and dehydrated, I arrived at the local clinic, accompanied by my host father. After laying down, I proceeded to doze off.  Still, I remember precisely how every few minutes, the blurriness cleared to reveal the distinct faces of members of the village…

02 May, 2012

A Whole Other World?

The endless dunes and savanna scrub pass by, as we rumble down winding, dirt roads. Yet I’m hardly aware of the landscape’s warming morning orange and spotty green; rather, I sense only the rhythmic pounding of the rocky road beneath our aging vehicle. Most of all I feel the tranquil pulse of life in the…

24 January, 2012

Where We Go From Here

Tucked away in the north of Dakar surrounded by green lawns and palms trees, the Meridien President Hotel is glaringly different from the swelling, sandy neighborhoods and bustling, littered streets through which our taxi weaves. Within the five-star conference center’s halls, the environment is abuzz with the conversations and presentations by dignitaries, professors, and representatives…

21 December, 2011

A History Written in the Sands

Silhouetted against a crackling fire, the children chant. To me, the words are a song of dynamic gibberish, though I know them to be beautiful verses of the Koran. The recited text is passed around the circle of restless brothers, sisters, and cousins, one child reading at a time while the rest provide a fervent…

12 December, 2011

A Language Beyond Words

Legs churning. Bodies weaving. Ball zooming. Drums beating. Voices calling. Minds rushing. The match has begun. Like the soccer stadium, Senegal is alive with football. Without many words, the world of football has hurriedly welcomed me to a new playing field, a new environment.  Similar to my general adaptation in Senegal, my first steps on…

10 October, 2011

Senegalese Nightlife

“Alhamduliliay!” I say, with a sigh of relief, as my brother, Djibril, and I arrive at home from our long run through the dark yet lively streets of Dakar. He laughs at my Wolof, an Arabic saying meaning “Thanks be to God (Allah).” For once the power is still on at my family’s compound, a collection…

26 September, 2011

Living as Others Do

These days I often find myself on a bus or a train, alone, absorbed in my thoughts, yet my eyes and ears opened to the surroundings. I pick up a bit of a conversation in Spanish here, a mother talking to her young baby there. I look out of the windows over the neighborhoods of…

06 July, 2011

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Elias Estabrook