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Victoria Tran-Trinh

Whether excelling at martial arts, volunteering at Greater Boston Foodbank, or leading the Connecting with Elders Club, Victoria dedicates her energies toward inspiring, challenging and engaging herself and others. She spent her summers mentoring physically and mentally disabled children with the Jason Roberts Challenger League baseball team. During a class trip to Eastern Europe, Victoria underwent an emotionally transformative experience learning about and seeing firsthand the effects of the Holocaust.

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An Incredibly Long and Very Earnest Critique

April 4, 2010

With my time left in Senegal ticking steadily away, I’ve been constantly contemplating everything I’ve learned here, trying to organize it in my brain. It never ceases to amaze me just how much these past six months have taught me about Senegalese culture and life. On a grander scale, I’ve been learning about how to...

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pickin’ up good vibrations

February 18, 2010

Since I basically live on the edge of Sebikotane, opposite from Gaya, Hilary, and the places where our activities are, I walk about two or three miles every day to get around. I could take a ndiaga-ndiaye for about 15 cents, as my Senegalese family and friends encourage me to do, but I prefer to...

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Don’t think twice, it’s alright

January 19, 2010

Friday the 15th marked the halfway point of our stay in Senegal. I’ve been keeping close track of the days, and feeling the halfway mark looming upon me was, frankly, kind of depressing.  A month ago, I had written a proposal detailing all the activities I wanted to initiate at the preschool. The director approved...

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American Holidays in Africa, or How Victoria’s Heart Thawed

December 27, 2009

For our first monthly meeting in Dakar, the Fellows celebrated a late Thanksgiving at Rachel’s house. I was averse to having a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner, but tried not to dampen everyone else’s holiday spirits. It just struck me as rather America-centric to feel the need to celebrate traditional holidays while abroad, especially while in an...

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a domesticated girl, that’s all you ask of me

December 6, 2009

Before I left Boston, my mother warned me not to argue with people if I disagreed with their cultural beliefs. It’s better to bite my tongue, she said, to avoid creating problems for myself. Before in-country arrival, GCY gave us instructions to steer clear of discussing controversial topics with our host families and newfound friends....

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and so it begins!

November 23, 2009

My apprenticeship is with the PDEF – an organization (funded by the international NGO ChildFund) that runs many things in the community, including a preschool which I am supposed to “help,” or really just study. After a week of sitting in the secretary’s office with my friendly mentor – she is the secretary – typing...

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can’t keep from changing, my brain’s bending

November 7, 2009

As a female here in Senegal, I am often asked if I know how to cook. This is just one of several questions that are posed to me on a daily basis which require in my answer “Aux Etats-Unis, je suis vegetarienne.” People are quick to accept my explanation of why I eat meat while...

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my heart’s aflame, my body’s strained (but God, I like it)

November 2, 2009

Yesterday was the day of days – the Senegal fellows’ move to their rural homestays. Saying my goodbyes to my host family was much sadder than I thought it would be, and I really hope I can visit them when my language skills have increased. The sadness was quickly replaced by excitement, though, when we...

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I sweat salt and the Earth sweats heat

October 24, 2009

There are few times in my life when I can honestly say that I was drenched in sweat. Today was one of those times. Not once before today have I been drenched in sweat without some kind of physical exertion behind it, be it a strenuous martial arts practice, a long run or even dancing...

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note the trees, because the dirt is temporary

October 21, 2009

Now that we’ve been in-country for three weeks, I find myself settling into more of a routine. This is a very good thing in some ways, but I’ve realized that it has its negatives as well. The upside is obviously that I am becoming more comfortable in Senegal. I honestly don’t think I experienced much...

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baobabs & baobabs some more – you can’t outwait fate (w/ photos!)

October 18, 2009

As I am writing this, it’s raining for the first time since I left Boston a month ago. Inside my house. The way the house is structured, the staircases leading from floor to floor are essentially outside. There is no roof above them, so it is raining INSIDE MY HOUSE! There are sheets of water...

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some days, they last longer than others

October 14, 2009

Semi-lengthy update! This is a picture of my host cousins playing the kora for me. They played a mixture of traditional and love songs. Haha. I got offered many things, from new Senegalese husbands to drags off communal cigarettes. (All of which I refused, politely, of course.) Home life: My host family is great and...

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dancing barefoot, heading for a spin

October 4, 2009

So.. my plans to write more frequent blogposts didn’t come to fruition. Obviously. I had every intention to update my blog, but the U.S. Training Institute was such a constant whirlwind of activity. Any and all free time that we Fellows had was devoted to reflecting, talking and just catching our breaths. True, some of...

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Training: Day 1

September 21, 2009

This is going to be a stub of an entry because I am flat-out exhausted. I just want to let everyone know that I’ve arrived at the training institution at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and it is beautiful! The scenery and the landscape are amazing. We had our first meeting with everyone in an...

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with question marks in my eye

September 18, 2009

As the only fellow who has yet to write a blog post, I'm forcing myself to write today - only three days before our Global Citizen Years officially start - out of guilt and a little bit of embarrassment.

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