Russell Bollag-Miller

Russell’s friends and family describe him as a passionate, affable, and hard-working young man with a diverse array of interests. At Lexington High, he was a member of both the Peer Mentoring and Leadership programs, led the school’s oldest all-male a cappella group (Pitchpipes), played varsity soccer, and was a captain of the lacrosse team. His other various passions include: hiking, Environmental activism, playing guitar and singing in a local folk-rock band. His summers are spent working at Camp Becket in the Berkshires, a sleep-away camp that has been Russell’s home away from home for the past 8 years.


Places and Faces (Video)

Here is a video I made of the places and faces I see every day in Senegal. Enjoy!

29 March, 2012

The Perks of Learning to Breathe

As I mentally prepared for this year, there were things I knew I’d have to learn. I would need to learn new customs, new languages, how to live independently, and other alien concepts yet to be discovered. In fact, the things I did know were few and far between. Among this abundance of unlearned material,…

10 February, 2012

Tabaski Week Recap

This was the week of the Senegalese holiday Tabaski. At a glance, the week fostered an absurd amount of new experiences for me. Ram slaughtering, wrestling matches, onion farming, Islamic praying, hitchhiking with Moroccan legume salesmen, African dance parties, outrageous fun. Enough cultural exploits for at least five separate blog posts. I’m going to talk…

23 November, 2011

Mind Whirring

When I woke up this morning I made a promise to myself that I would contribute in some way and make someone’s day easier. I decided on this mission because for the few weeks that I’ve lived in Mberes, I have not been allowed to lift a finger. I can’t clean my own room, can’t…

03 November, 2011

Balla Gaye

Everyone is dead. Well, not really. But it really looked like it. In a matter of seconds, the entire hundred-something people who inhabit my village cleared out. Women screaming. Men sprinting for the road. And then silence. I was dazed, sitting alone under a tree that had previously been bustling with life and conversation that…

25 October, 2011

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I have a great seat. Arguably the best seat. The PowerPoint presentation is in perfect view. I have a fan angled in my direction. I have a nice chair. Arguably the nicest chair. I understand a little Wolof… Well, arguably no Wolof. So maybe a six-hour discussion (in Wolof) about variations in onion farming is…

08 October, 2011


Firstly, for those of you who are choosing to follow this blog and read about my thoughts and experiences, I thank you very much for taking an interest either in me, the mission that I have for this year, or maybe just for the cool stories (hopefully) that I will relay. The overarching goal that…

09 September, 2011

Bubble Boy

I have moved around for the majority of my life. One commonality between all of the places that I have lived (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) is an invisible bubble that has enveloped these communities. This bubble is why I have decided to take a gap year. The bubble I’m talking about is essentially a mentality…

01 August, 2011

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Russell Bollag-Miller