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Katie Dodge



June 1, 2018

Three days into living with my host family in Senegal, I had my first weekly language class, where Tiffany—a then stranger who later became my saving grace—made the comment: “I need more time to process these past two days than my entire life”. The more time I spend back home, the more I realize the...

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February 27, 2018

French And lack thereof      I. Do. Not. Speak. French. Sometimes (all the time) I feel like I need a sign on my forehead declaring this to the well-meaning people of Senegal who see my lack of melanin and immediately launch into the official national language, a remnant that still binds the colonizer and...

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Sin bi Jalo

February 7, 2018

Sin bi Jalo January 20, 2018     I first met Sin bi Jalo on my third day in Senegal. His job was to help me, along with the five other fellows that made up our language group, learn to communicate with our host family and community in Wolof. He has since become one of...

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The Worst Decision

November 18, 2017

Before I could even process what had happened, the pain hit me. It was burning, blinding, reducing me to a helpless, moaning lump. The one part of my brain that was still sentient tried to get help, to get water, to do something—yet I was unable to move in any direction for lack of vision....

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Sama Kër

September 23, 2017

There is one paved road that runs through Thienaba. Shops and stands line either side, hoping to entice weary travellers with roasted peanuts or watermelon. Motorcycles weave around the trucks and taxis carrying goods and people from town to town.  Every now and then a rickety bus will pull over and cram on another person...

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51 Things to do While Waiting for the Plane to Dakar

September 7, 2017

1.     Go pee. 2.     While peeing, think about how you won’t be using toilet paper for the next eight months. 3.     Try to calm the rising panic in your stomach as you imagine your life without toilet paper. 4.     Go for a walk around the terminal. 5.     Charge your phone. 6.     Second-guess every decision you have...

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August 27th

August 31, 2017

Hello! I wanted to do a quick explanation before I started the actual blog post. I’m currently at Stanford, where I will be for the next two days until I fly to Dakar. I wrote most of this on the plane from Seattle to San Francisco, but because I take forever to articulate my words,...

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Embracing the Unexpected

August 15, 2017

A year ago I had my life figured out.  Well, not my life, but certainly the next five years. The summer before my senior year of high school, I spent a lot of time thinking about the future, mentally planning what would happen after I received my diploma: I would go to some Ivy League...

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