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Naomi Wright

Naomi is an avid ultimate frisbee player, amateur photographer, and spoken word artist. She is also an activist - when students from three area high schools became frustrated with their respective drama departments, Naomi assisted in the creation of an independent student-run theater company and acted in its production of The Laramie Project.


Senegal in Syllables

May 3, 2011

Over the past months, I’ve occasionally jotted down little haikus in my journal. Perhaps you’ll get a different perspective on my life in Senegal from these mental musings. I have drunk friendship, Brown-olive, thick with sweetness, From a glass teacup ————————————————– Sneezing and smiles: The same in every language. Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Eeeee! ————————————————– Beans make...

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Malaria, Know More

April 25, 2011

During some of my first weeks in Senegal, when I was living in Dakar, my four-year-old host sister didn’t come down for breakfast one morning. In response to my worried inquiries, her mother shrugged and nonchalantly indicated that the girl was sick, “Elle est malade, c’est le paludisme.” Malaria. I was shocked. Though I was...

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Fatim and Nafi (Help) Cook Lunch

April 18, 2011

Over the last six months, I’ve become well acquainted with the national dish of Senegal, “Ceebujen”. When I have a free morning, I help the women of my household cook the fish, rice, and vegetable dish for lunch. In this video, Nafi, another GCY Fellow stationed in the same village as me, help her mother...

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Open Your Ice

April 6, 2011

My family in Senegal supplies the surrounding community—the village of Leona, about 1,000 residents—with ice during the hot months from April to November. It’s not the family’s main source of income; we only make 100CFA ($0.20) per block of ice. In fact, we probably wouldn’t sell ice at all, but we’re the only family in...

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On the Road

April 5, 2011

Every morning I finish breakfast by 8:15 and change into my running clothes: a baggy t-shirt and spandex capris. My attire rides the line between cultural appropriateness and physical comfort (my knees must be covered yet I live in the hottest region in Senegal, where even early in the morning, the heat begins to waver...

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Brave New World

March 24, 2011

I’ve read many books over these past few months, including Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Madeleine Balchan, another GCY Fellow, had read the same book in high school, the following is an excerpt from a discussion we had about the parallels between the book and our GCY experience. Naomi: Brave New World is set in...

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Vegetarian’s Dilemma

March 1, 2011

Among other things, I gave up vegetarianism when I made the decision to spend a bridge year in Senegal—or so I thought. Factory farming, my chief objection to meat in the States, isn’t practiced in Senegal and I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my host family’s culture or hard work to put expensive meat...

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You Say You Want a Revolution

February 18, 2011

In recent weeks, I’ve watched as people my age took to the streets of Cairo to uphold the idea of liberty. It’s made me wonder, would the youth of America take such radical action in the face of similar injustice— would they even notice the injustice in the first place? I come from a generation...

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Portrait of an Artist

February 9, 2011

After I’d landed in Dakar, I slowly found myself craving modes of self-expression.

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Glass Half Full

January 19, 2011

As I approach this day, the monumental half-way point of my Global Citizen Year, I can’t help feeling like Keats’ Endymion, for though there are “many and many a verse I hope to write, I must be near the middle of my story.” Senegal will be home for only three and a half more months;...

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January 11, 2011

The morning was exactly as it always is, nothing unexpected, nothing disquieting. But that is exactly it: I feel completely comfortable with my family, in my home in Leona, Senegal.

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Development, Up Close and Personal

January 9, 2011

To say the least, the past weeks have been a crash course in the intricacies of international development.

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A Healthy Dose of Realism

December 28, 2010

“The work we do is hard. If it were easy, it would be done already.” –John Wood I heard this statement way back when, in San Francisco, from Room to Read founder, John Wood. He was referencing the efforts of his organization to expand education opportunities in developing countries. As I lay in bed today,...

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Life in Leona

December 13, 2010

“So… what exactly have you been doing in Senegal?” I’ve heard this question posed in various ways by my parents, teachers, friends. I’ve tried to articulate it several times, and nothing has really done justice to my experience thus far as a Global Citizen Year fellow. So, here’s my answer: a mash up of my...

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Bissap Revelations

December 6, 2010

I am freshly showered—out of a bucket—and my Senegalese mother is waiting for me: we are going to the fields. Sun streaks through mosquito net, making lace on the mosaic tile floor. “Fatima Jow!” My host mom’s voice booms my newly-acquired Senegalese name. I shout Yaay! the Wolof word for mother, poking my head around...

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Along for the Ride

November 30, 2010

What the heck am I doing here? Thinking two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, I raised my eyebrows at the car attendant gesturing animatedly, ushering me into the cave-dark of the canopied truck. I confusedly crawled in on all-fours. Sitting: knees nearly to chest, splay-legged, passenger in front wedged between,...

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November 11, 2010

Have you ever watched the stars rise? The sunrise, sunsets, oh! Everybody’s watched them. But the stars? A mournfully beautiful practice. And so ancient! Those That Came Before stared at these same stars; the points of light might be dead for all I know, burnt to the blackness of sky, their memory-light still hurtling, hurtling: a...

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Change in Routine

October 29, 2010

I wanted to write a little summation of my time here in the big city, especially because it’s likely my access to the internet will be quite limited for the next month. I’ve spent the last few hours trying to mock up an outline, but my mind-voice keeps giggle-whispering, I leave Dakar in four days…...

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Feeling the Flow

October 25, 2010

There is a point when matter is so cold that all molecular motion ceases completely: Absolute Zero. For the last four years of my life, I’ve been in crisp control of my brain, keeping it in that exact state of ultimate stillness. Don’t misunderstand me, I have felt feelings and thought thoughts. However, each was...

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All That Glitters

October 9, 2010

In French, the word for trash is ordure: the remains of a destroyed or broken up something, now worthless and fit only for disposal. To contradict my previous post, the last four days have left me feeling, well, trashed. As I lay stewing in a pool of sweat this morning, trying to will the power...

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Complimentary Contradictions

October 4, 2010

Even at nine in the morning it’s 75°C, so I welcomed the realization that the shower’s “hot” knob didn’t mean there was hot water. Nevertheless, its coldness shocked me when I raised the nozzle to my face. I breathed in, sharply. For whatever reason, it was in that moment that I understood what fifteen hours...

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Perfect Stranger

September 29, 2010

Having been challenged to find the story of one of the estimated 15,000 people living on the streets of San Francisco as part of “Five Dollar Day,” I chose to sit down next to James. When I saw him hunched against a scraggly tree on the corner of Seventh and Market Street the only things...

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Who am I?

September 21, 2010

At 4:46 PM on Monday, September 20th, I sat down with the intent to answer that question. Lounging in the welcome shade of  Petaluma oak trees, I struggled to find even a reference point for where to begin. Should I look to my past? My circumstances up till now—people I’ve known, things I’ve experienced, places...

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